My husband and I live far from both of our families. This isn’t ideal for a number of reasons, especially now that we have a child. We’re having to come up with creative ways to help our daughter get to know her relatives, especially her grandparents.
Caring, attentive grandparents are incredibly valuable to children. In fact, they can meet needs and provide benefits in ways that parents can’t.
Why grandparents are important
- Grandparents make grandkids feel special by spoiling them a little. Unlike parents, grandparents don’t have to worry about providing structure and being disciplinarians. Thus, they can spoil kids a bit by giving them gifts, allowing them to stay up late, and sneaking cookies to them before dinner. A little bit of this spoiling won’t make kids rotten. On the contrary, it makes the grandparent-grandchild relationship unique and creates memories that both parties will cherish for the rest of their lives.
- Grandparents connect grandkids to their history. Grandparents can often share genealogical information with their grandkids. Moreover, they can pass along stories, time-honored traditions, and family recipes. This provides grandkids with a sense of belonging and continuity.
- Grandparents pass along new knowledge to their grandkids. All grandparents have real life experience they can share with their grandkids. Much of this knowledge can’t be learned from a textbook! Additionally, grandparents have hobbies, interests, and skills that they can introduce to their grandkids. These lessons will stick with grandkids and benefit them throughout their lives.
- Grandparents make great confidants. Sometimes children feel more comfortable opening up and sharing with their grandparents because they feel that their grandparents will be understanding and not condemn their feelings or concerns. Subsequently, grandparents have the opportunity to influence their grandkids to make good decisions. Grandparents are well suited for this because they have a lot of experience and hindsight!
- Grandparents give their grandkids undivided attention. Parents can be so busy with soccer practice carpools, the PTA, laundry, bake sales, dinner, and other activities that they aren’t able to give each of their children as much undivided attention as they’d like. Grandparents often have less demanding schedules and fewer obligations, so they can give undivided time and attention to their grandkids. This benefits kids because they often function better in less harried environments and quality time with their grandparents helps them feel loved.
- Grandparents encourage the spiritual growth of their grandkids. Grandparents are among the older men and older women mentioned in the second chapter of Titus. In this passage, they are instructed to urge and teach younger individuals to do good. Grandparents can carry out this instruction and diligently pray for their grandkids. They can also commend God’s works to the younger generation (Psalm 145:4).
In a perfect world, all of our children would have frequent interactions with caring grandparents. We don’t live in a perfect world, though, so many of us face situations where this doesn’t happen. You may live far from your parents like we do or you may face other situations (your parents are deceased, you’re estranged from your parents, etc.) that make these relationships impossible. If this is the case, then look around your church or community for opportunities to interact with older adults. There are so many who would love to act as honorary grandparents for your kiddos!
Do your kids have special relationships with their grandparents? What are some other reasons why grandparents are important?