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Grandparents are good for young people's well-being and resilience

Contrary to previous research, which showed that grandparents who regularly care for their grandchildren were depressed and that this had a negative impact on the child, a recent study from Oxford University has revealed that involved grandparents positively influence children?s lives.

The study illustrates that grandparents involvement can increase young people's well-being and help develop resilience.  The researchers say that Grandma and Grandpa have a buffering effect against stressful life events, and that this not only helps the child but the whole family too.

The authors say that the role of grandparents has been downplayed in relation to young people?s well-being.  The study discovered that grandparents are much more involved in bringing up children than was previously thought: a third of maternal grandmothers providing regular care and 40% providing occasional help. What seems to be most beneficial to young people is not just closeness with grandparents but being involved and doing things together.

The study reveals that Grandparents are well placed to do things with young people; they can talk to children about their problems, help them to solve difficulties, and encourage young people to set long term goals.  Not only this, but Grandma and Grandpa also provide a sense of continuity during stressful times, such as parental separation, and this has a calming effect on children.   The study revealed that distance was no barrier and that modern technology could provide a way for long distance grandparents to be, and stay, involved. 

These findings come from a large scale survey of 1,596 young people across England and Wales and from 40 interviews of children from various different backgrounds.  To read the press release click here

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