The Importance of Grandparents

Grandparents play a very important role in the lives of their grandchildren. We are seeing a rise in the number of grandparents caring for the younger generation for a variety of reasons. These grandparents are apt to be more youthful, vigorous, alert, and energetic, with plenty of ideas and enthusiasm. Kids do keep us young!

Grandparents can do many important things for their grandchildren:

      1. Help children feel secure and loved
      2. Play a crucial role during family transitions, such as divorce
      3. Help children learn to know, trust, and understand other people
      4. Help children to bridge the gap between the past and present
      5. Provide experiences and supervision that parents do not have time or money to provide
      6. Give children a sense of values and a philosophy of life from years of living
      7. Play arbitrator between parents and children
      8. Give children a wholesome attitude toward old age

Grandparents can offer tremendous support to their children and grandchildren. Outside the child’s nuclear family, grandparents are the most important figures in most families.

Grandparents influence grandchildren directly when they serve as caregivers, playmates, family historians, mentors, mediators between parent and child, sources of gifts and treats, confidante and advocate for the child.

Grandparents influence grandchildren indirectly when they provide psychological and material support to parents, who then have more resources for parenting.

Gender plays a role. Grandmothers are more likely to be involved than grandfathers and appear to play a powerful role in grandchildren’s well-being.

In turn, grandchildren can do many things for grandparents:

      1. Serve as a source of biological continuity and living evidence that the family will endure
      2. Enhance grandparent’s self-concept
      3. Keep grandparents up-to-date (how to use that computer or smartphone!!)
      4. Older grandchildren can provide certain types of assistance to help grandparents maintain an independent lifestyle

Geographic proximity to grandparents is the most important predictor of the grandparent-grandchild relationship.

Think about some of the important contributions that your grandparents have made to your life…

Ask your grandparents to tell you about the important contributions that you have made to their lives…

pa and granddaughter

Posted in Aging, Grief & Loss, Middle Age, Parenting, Relationships, Retirement | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

On Being a Father

Whatever the extent of their involvement, fathers do appear to influence their children’s development, both directly by means of interaction and indirectly by virtue of their positive and negative impact on the family’s social and emotional climate. Attitudes concerning appropriate levels of emotional involvement vary widely. Thus paternal (father) involvement, whether of a high or low level, can be beneficial or harmful to child development depending on the attitudes and values of the parents. It is very important to recognize intercultural and intracultural diversity when considering parental influence on child development.

Four factors are crucial to understanding variations in the degree of paternal involvement.

  • Motivation — the extent to which the father wants to be involved
  • Skills and self-confidence — comfort with skill set necessary for working with children
  • Support — especially support within the family from the mother
  • Institutional practices — what your environment and social structure considers appropriate

Most men prior to the 1970s were encouraged to perform as traditional fathers, which was a relatively restricted role. Many traditional men feel they must restrict or sacrifice their father role in order to be successful breadwinners.

However, some men are uncomfortable with restricting their parenting activities to only providing income for the family, as androgyny theory (Bem, 1975) suggests. And thankfully we see more fathers today trying to create a balance between their breadwinner role and their own need to be involved with their children. Yet some men do continue to ignore the father role because the rewards of activities outside the home are so strong. Other men many be closed out by their family system or traditions, or they may be struggling with internal issues that consume all their energy. More information needs to be available to men so that they can make better decisions about the kind of involvement they want with their children.

Most men develop father behavior that blends both the provider and caretaker roles. The ideal father as described by Heath (1976) is “affectionate, emotionally involved, and willing to play with his children.” This definition has expanded to include being a “mentor and coach of life skills.” We know that fathers make important contributions to the social and intellectual development of their children.

Can you tell us about ways you see that fathers have enhanced the growth and development of their children in recent decades?

Posted in Adolescence, Behavior Challenges, Elementary School Child, Infants, Learning Difficulties, Middle Age, Middle Childhood, Parenting, Relationships, Toddlers & Preschoolers, Work & Family | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Hole

In a stack of saved papers I discovered a poem that I believe speaks to dilemmas that we often face in life… How does the message in this poem fit with your life?

 

The Hole

One

I walk down the street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I fall in.

I am lost… I am helpless…

It isn’t my fault.

It takes forever to find a way out.

 

Two

I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I pretend I don’t see it.

I fall in again.

I can’t believe I am in the same place.

But it isn’t my fault.

It still takes a long time to get out.

 

Three

I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I still fall in… it’s a habit…

But my eyes are open.

I see it is there.

I know where I am.

It is my fault.

I get out immediately.

 

Four

I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I walk around it.

 

Five

I walk down a different street.

 

 Author Unknown

Posted in Anxiety & Stress, Self-Care | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment