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According to an article published in YaleGlobal, an online publication for International and Area studies at Yale, it is estimated that about 18 percent of the global population are grandparents, who increasingly play an indispensable role in modern family life by contributing to the well-being of generations succeeding them.
Research from the University of Oxford showed that when grandparents are involved in a child’s upbringing, the child is more likely to have fewer emotional and behavioural problems. This is particularly so for adolescents from divorced and separated families.
Grandparents could be the de facto trusted adults to go to when children face problems with their parents or have problems they don’t want to share with their parents. Grandparents could also impart family values such as respect and filial piety if the relationship with grandchildren is strong.
In a TODAY report, Jessica Lamb, a psychotherapist and mediator at Relationship Matters also shared that grandparents can give children the opportunity to understand their parents better through the eyes of their grandparents.
Relating their own stories of growing up , grandparents also help grandchildren better relate to their roots and instil in them a sense of belonging.
In Singapore, where it is common to find both parents working, willing and able grandparents help lighten the load when they pitch in to care for young children. Grandparent care also helps to reduce childcare costs associated with centre-based care.
In the UK, grandparents save parents more than US$70 billion annually in childcare costs and in Australia, grandparents save working parents more than US$2 billion.
For first-time parents, grandparents could also support and help them navigate parenthood, providing advice and tips on everyday situations such as dealing with fussy children and their tantrums or soothing crying babies.
However, it always helps to discuss and communicate clearly the roles and expectations for the upbringing of children to minimise conflicts between grandparents and parents.
While some grandparents may be very involved in caring for their grandchildren, there are some who may be contented with engaging their grandchildren occasionally during visits and outings.
Whichever role grandparents play in our families, we don’t need research to tell us that having more people to love and support our children can only be a good thing.
Tags: Grandparenting /3 Generation Family
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