The relationship between grandparent and grandchild can be a close bond that is unlike any other in the lives of both, and research has found that making time to build a meaningful connection with grandchildren can reduce depression for both and provide opportunities for growth and connection. And who doesn’t need the stability, unconditional love and comfort a grandparent can provide?
According to a recent Shared Media post, a Boston College 19-year study of 374 grandparents and 356 adult grandchildren found that close emotional ties between grandchildren and their grandparents reduced depressive symptoms in both groups. The grandparent-grandchild relationship can be mutually beneficial. Older adults can provide mentorship and advice while the younger generation brings more fun to life and keeps seniors on their toes, learning new things and trying new experiences.
And because older adults are living longer, grandparents today often have the opportunity to know their grandchildren as they grow into adults, start their careers and possibly have a family of their own. A close connection with grandparents helps teenaged and adult grandchildren blossom from a place of security, love and friendship.
Intergenerational bonds are often the hallmark of strong family ties in general but there is something special about a close relationship between grandparents and grandchildren. A British study of children between the ages of 11 and 16 found that a close grandparent-grandchild relationship resulted in fewer emotional and behavioral problems and less difficulty with peers. This close bond also helped to reduce the impact of divorce, remarriage or bullying for children.
If you are fortunate enough to have grandchildren, carving out time regularly to spend with one another can not only help out parents but creating a close relationship between grandchildren and grandparent can be an emotionally rewarding connection that offers many health benefits for all concerned.