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Grandparents | a Positive Influence on Children
Grandparents – A Gift to Children     
  • Grandparents are in a unique position in the family circle to provide a great service.   With healthy, traditional families becoming an endangered species, grandparents can be positive contributors in the lives of their own grandchildren, as well as helping children whose grandparents live far away.  Be an anchor in a world of shifting values. 
“When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.”  2 Timothy 1:5
  • Grandparents are the ones who bridge the generations, and pass the values and the important beliefs from the previous generation down to their grandchildren.  They do this by the stories they tell about their mothers and fathers, about their grandparents, and about what it was like when they were little.
  • Caring grandparents can be a positive (and sometimes the only stable) influence present in the lives of their grandchildren when parents divorce.  Be a light to your children, in-laws and grandchildren. 
  • Grandparents never retire from their family.  Grandparents are always a parent.  Remain connected to your adult children.  Be a light to your children, grandchildren, and in-laws.   Actively participate in the lives of your grandchildren.  All the adults in the family share the responsibility of raising the youngest generation.  Be highly motivated to nurture, support and share your expertise and life experiences with all of your grandchildren—and your wisdom will bless them.
  • Grandparents are commonly the most important people in the lives of their grandchildren, beyond their parents.  Most children receive undivided attention from their grandparents. 

    Children who have grandparents in their lives are more confident, they are no as troublesome in school, and they do better in school.  It is a relationship that gives them a sense of family and history, and kids feel they can confide more easily in their grandparents.

    Most people have very positive feelings about grandmothers.  Divine, wonderful, warm, cozy words are used to describe their grandmother’s unconditional love, cookies, warmth and acceptance. 

    The main job of grandparents
    - is to love their grandchildren.  (“Becoming Grandma - The Joys and Science of the New Grandparenting,” by Lesley Stahl, remarks on “Lesley is More,” CBS This Morning, April 3, 2017)

  • Grandparents can have a positive influence in the lives of their grandchildren.  The grandparent and grandchild emotional relationship is related to pro-social development, meaning there is a correlation between grandparent involvement and how their grandchild treats others and, in some cases, how they perform in school.  Frequent contact with another adult other than a child's immediate family helps adolescents to develop key social emotional skills that are fundamental to positive social development.

    Grandparents who are not actually raising their grandchildren are less likely to take on a parent-like role.  They are more likely to focus their efforts on fostering positive development, rather than discipline.

    Grandparents do not have to be living nearby to feel emotionally close to their grandchildren.  Stay connected through phone calls, emails, cards and letters.

    Grandchildren with grandparent involvement are more likely to look outside of their family and friend circles to reach out to others.  They are more likely to help others even when inconvenient or hard, and are more service oriented and likely to volunteer.

    Remember that over-involvement can also lead to problems. 
    (These 5 points came from Jeremy Yorgason's, Flourishing Families Project, Deseret News Publishing Company, Marianne Holman, January 2012)

  • The challenges of multi-generational families are sometimes daunting.  Generations United says that many of the parents in these households have characteristics suggestive of the need for family assistance.  For example, 44% had a baby as a teen, and 12% have a disability.  One-firth (21%) are unemployed, 29% lack a high school diploma, and 22% are currently enrolled in school.  Other factors can also form such families, including the death of a parent, substance abuse, mental illness or other disability, or military deployment. 

    The most common multi-generational household arrangement consists of 3 generations - typically one or more working-age adults, one or more of their children (who may also be adults), and either aging parent(s) or grandchildren.  Once a rarity, except in some lower-income ethnic communities, the 4 or even 5-generation household (parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, adult children, their children) is more commonplace and social-economically significant. 

    Among other findings, among children who are primarily cared for by a grandparent, 39% are white, 26% black, 25% Hispanic, and 3% Asian.  And children under age 6 are more likely to live with or be cared for by a grandparent.  (Repeat parents, Deseret News, September 15, 2013, statistics by Generations United)

  • When the elderly and children come together, it creates an environment of warmth and tenderness, as the elderly share their wisdom.  Our children and grandchildren measure our love for them by how much devoted time we give them. 

  • Grandparents can bless the lives of their own or someone else's children or grandchildren.  Truly, all of the extended family (aunts, uncles, and cousins) can support families.

  • Many grandparents are now raising their own grandchildren, who have been left behind by their parents, due mostly to violence and drugs, incarceration, mental illness, and school absenteeism.  This may not be the best option, but for some children it may be the only option.  

    Grandparents who help raise grandchildren are running errands, babysitting, taking grandchildren to doctor appointments, purchasing school clothes and school supplies, supplementing health care payments, and paying for music lessons, sports, camps and tutoring.

  • Good news for Grandparents.   A grandchild for one day keeps grandma mentally sharp and keeps dementia away.  Research shows that grandparents who look after their grandchildren at least once a week are less likely to develop Alzheimer’s.  The Baptist study showed that post-menopausal women who take care of grandchildren may help them reduce their risk of Alzheimer’s and other forms of cognitive decline; however, if grandparents were caregivers for 5 days or more, their cognitive function declined.  Although an exact reason for the correlation isn’t clear, researchers speculate that regular social interaction can have a positive effect on seniors.
  (“Spending Time with Grandma - Caring for Grandkids may reduce Alzheimer’s risk,” by George McIntyre, CBS This Morning, January 25, 2015)

    "Grandma's brain benefits from time with the little ones," by Jessica Firger, CBS News, April 9, 2014

  • In Spokane, 909 grand families (grandparents responsible for grandchildren) were registered in 2010.  (2010 census)
  • In 2011, 10% of American children lived in households with their grandparents.  (2013 Pew Research Center of Analysis of American Community Survey, and U.S. Census) 

  • Nearly 8 million American children live with a grandparent, although about 60% of those also have at least one of the parents in the house, as well. 

  • Caregiver grandparents (who are responsible for most of the basic needs of a co-resident grandchild) are typically younger; more than half of those living with a grandchild are younger than 60, and two-thirds of those who provide primary care for a child are younger than 60.  (2005-11 American Community Survey)
  • Well over 2 million grandparents were responsible for their grandchildren in 2010.  (U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey)

  • A little over 4 in 10 (43%) of grandparents live more than 200 miles from their grandchildren who live furthest away.  (Insights and Spending Habits of Modern Grandparents, by Cheryl L. Lampkin, Ph.D., AARP, March 2012)  

  • Grandparents are projected to make up roughly 1 in 3 adults by 2020.  (Grandparents lay a bigger role in child-rearing, by Hope Yen, Associated Press, August 25, 2011) 

What You Can Do

"Activities for Grandparents"

to do with their own Grandchildren

...or, someone else's.
(click here)

  • Adopt a Grandparent!  Meals on Wheels delivers meals to people who are home-bound and lonely.  Their Friend-to-Friend program connects volunteers to those who would benefit from visits at last monthly. 

    Contact Meals on Wheels
    (509) 456-6597
    email:  meals@mowspokane.org   

Local Organizations