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Front Page » June 12, 2008 » Senior focus » Grandparenting: a Special Relationship
Published 2,383 days ago

Grandparenting: a Special Relationship


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Listening to grandchildren is an important way that grandparents can make a contribution to kids lives.

No matter where in the world, it seems that grandparents derive a strong sense of well-being from their relationships with their children and grandchildren.

Many studies show that grandparents take great satisfaction when their grandchildren turn to them to acquire knowledge and skills, and to learn more about their family history. Their grandchildren's presence gives them a sense of continuity; they have contributed to life and continue to do so.

In spite of the new challenges, the outcome is worth the effort. Not only does the role of grandparent provide much personal satisfaction, it also contributes to the stability of families and society.

In our fast-paced world, the role of grandparent is perhaps more important and more rewarding than ever. Thanks to their longer life expectancy and improved health, today's grandparents can play a more active role in family life. In fact, women, who now live to 82 years old on average, can spend about half of their lives as grandmothers.

Grandfathers also live longer, with average life expectancies having grown in the last few years approaching 80 years old.

Indeed, more grandparents than ever can expect to become great-grandparents. Not only are seniors living longer, more are also living without disabilities.

Grandchildren can benefit from many different activities that grandparents offer them. Sometimes they are things that busy parents can't do, even such things as a simple walk.

Since a large percentage of American children live in single-parent homes, it is more and more common to see grandparents play an active and stabilizing role in the lives of their grandchildren. With a 50 percent divorce rate, the country is also witnessing an increase in the number of "reconstituted families", and, consequently, a rise in extended families that can include up to eight sets of grandparents and, sometimes, many great- grandparents.

A century ago, grandparents had little time to spend with their grandchildren. In fact, most grandparents would only have about 10 years to enjoy the company of their grandchildren because of shorter life expectancy.

But now, many Americans will spend half their lives as grandparents and will get to watch their grandchildren become teenagers, young adults and even parents.

The stereotypical grandmother continues to be a gentle, little old granny with pink cheeks, sitting in her rocking chair knitting mittens.

And the typical image of a grandfather is often that of a kind old man, sitting on the porch, smoking a pipe.

Grandparents may have been like this years ago, but those days are long gone. Today's grandparents are full of life and responsibilities. Some are businesspeople, some are avid golf fans, some love to dance the night away, and others like to rollerblade.

Indeed, grandparents have a lot to share, both on a personal and professional level. It's no surprise that the concept of mentoring has become increasingly important in American society in recent years.

A mentor can be defined as "an attentive and experienced guide and advisor". Retirees have a lot to teach the younger generations who are just beginning their careers, and as a result, mentoring programs have been springing up everywhere, allowing recent or upcoming graduates to carve out a place for themselves in the current labor market. While that is being done on a professional level, that same advice can be passed on to subsequent generations of family as well.

Many wonderful grandmas still can make cookies, but nowadays they also lead more active roles in their grandchildrens lives.

No matter where in the world, it seems that grandparents derive a strong sense of well-being from their relationships with their children and grandchildren. Many studies show that grandparents take great satisfaction when their grandchildren turn to them to acquire knowledge and skills, and to learn more about their family history.

Their grandchildren's presence also gives them a sense of continuity; they have contributed to life and continue to do so.

In spite of the new challenges, the outcome is worth the effort. Not only does the role of grandparent provide much personal satisfaction, it also contributes to the stability of families and society. In our fast-paced world, the role of grandparent is perhaps more important and more rewarding than ever.

Grandparents also provide a reassuring presense and contribute to the healthy development of families and young children. Grandparents are also companions, friends, confidantes and playmates for grandchildren.

What's more, grandparents can provide family support in a way that money just can't buy.

This Father's Day all children and grandchildren should spend some quality time with their grandparents.

A grandchild-grandparent relationship is one of the most special bonds there is in life.


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Senior focus  
June 12, 2008
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