Children are kinder when Grandma and Grandpa are involved in their lives

November 16, 2011

( -- Grandparents love to boast about their grandkids’ accomplishments, and now a new study gives them credit for helping their young grandchildren be a little kinder and – in some cases – a little smarter.

Scholars from Brigham Young University interviewed grandchildren ages 10-14 about their relationship with their grandparents. One year later, the researchers again contacted the 408 adolescents to gather information about their emotional development.

Grandparents’ involvement was related to adolescents developing a greater sense of care and concern for people outside of their immediate group of friends and family.

“The bottom line is that grandparents have a positive influence on their grandkids that is distinct from the effect of the parent-child relationship,” said lead study author Jeremy Yorgason.

None of the youth in this study lived with their grandparents, but some of the parents had received financial help from the grandparents during the study. For kids in single-parent homes, financial assistance from grandparents was associated with higher engagement in school.

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sometimes act as the National Guard and help out in a crisis,” Yorgason said. “The kids in single-parent homes may not even know about the financial help, but it’s related to them being more engaged in school.”

The study appears in the current issue of the Journal of Research on Adolescence.

“There are only a handful of studies that have been able to link the grandparent with some grandchild outcome,” Yorgason said. “This is a fairly new arena of research.”

Explore further: The ties that bind: Grandparents and their grandchildren

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