Grandparents are increasingly appreciated for the vital role they are able to play in the raising and support of their grandchildren. As the number of single-parent families increases grandparents are often called upon to help with finances, childcare and perhaps even provide a home for a time.
Grandparents are often uniquely placed to play a vital role in the family.
Let’s look at the importance of grandparents:
– They can provide a calm approach, given that there are few things they’re unlikely to have not seen before.
Having one’s first child is often a daunting experience, causing fear, concern, apprehension at the enormity of the responsibility that’s being shouldered. At the same time many parents continue to work, sometimes for long hours which result in them coming home guilty, stressed, over-tired and frustrated at the demands of their situation.
Grandparents are often happy to be in a position where they can offer support to their children and grandchildren. They may regard it as an opportunity to remedy mistakes they made with their own children, look forward to being able to spend quality time with their grandchildren and have another chance, a chance to do a better job this time.
– Grandparents can introduce a different perspective into parenting.
Parents may be focussed on giving their children what they see to be the best possible start in life, regardless of each child’s particular skills, aptitudes and interests. They often want them to have the best education, upbringing, connections and opportunities.
They may be prepared to over-commit themselves financially, working long hours to pay the bills, when the child may be better-suited to a less academic environment, surrounded by a loving family with whom they spend quality time.
Grandparents can often see the picture from both points of view. They may be in a position where they can influence decisions to support what’s best for the individual child, looking to nurture their future happiness and wellbeing.
– They can provide stability.
Parents often have to work and an increasing number of families consist of a single parent where the other has visitation rights.
In other families there may be step-parents and step or half brothers and sisters. A grandparent may be the reliable, consistent figure who acts as a go-between or mediator between parents and/or children.
They may provide a ready ear, dispense wisdom and advice and offer a calm, welcoming haven whenever required.Time and patience are often their biggest assets. Parents often find that they are stressed and pushed for time. Grandparents are often able and willing to bridge that gap and provide stability.
– The calm presence of a grandparent can offer reassurance to both adult children and grandchildren.
Knowing someone older and wiser is on their side can give a feeling of security, along with wisdom, experience and a levelling influence. A lifetime’s experience can bring a balanced perspective into situations and because they are often not directly involved in their children’s family matters, they can nevertheless bring authority and insight, tempered by love and concern as they help to arbitrate and resolve matters.
– A connection to the past is often important to young children.
They are fascinated with stories of the ‘olden days’, the days when their grandparents were the age they are now.
Photographs, mementoes and anecdotes are often relished and grandparents are often happy to repeat their stories to an enthusiastic audience. Children enjoy discovering about their past, enjoy the feeling of continuity and belonging, learning about their heritage. Grandparents are often more than happy to share these stories.
Grandparents are more important than ever in many families. As many families split up, become fractured with new partners and siblings, perhaps move home, grandparents are able to provide some sense of balance and reassurance. They can provide security, familiarity and a sense of belonging. Families need grandparents. They are often an important stabilising influence.
Susan Leigh is a Counsellor and Hypnotherapist who works with stressed individuals to promote confidence and self belief, with couples experiencing relationship difficulties to improve communications and understanding and with business clients to support the health and motivation levels of individuals and teams.
T: 0161 928 7880