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Some may ask why children need grandparents and extended family. It’s no secret when people say ‘the more the merrier’, whether it is grandparents or extended family, everyone can use a stable, built-in village in their lives. This is especially true when it comes to children. Aunts and uncles can be like second parents or best friends, while grandparents share a different type of love than the parents themselves. There is always a different type of bond than those bonds with their parents. Overall, why children need grandparents and extended family is important and for various reasons such as extra love and making the child a stronger person.
Built In Support System
A study done by the University of Oxford has shown that children who had a relationship with their grandparents had less emotional and behavioral issues. This is because grandparents offer stability when the child is going through something traumatic, such as a parents divorce. The same is true for other members of the extended family. They offer a more sympathetic ear and give a sense of security. They are always their for the child and create a strong relationship as well as being their mentors.
Sometimes, a child is afraid or too uncomfortable to speak to their parent about certain situations so they turn to their grandparents or extended family for advice. The extended family member can also share with the child how the child can address certain situations with the parent. Grandparents and extended family also provide a sense of security and continuity in the child’s life. The child doesn’t have to fear what would happen to them if the parents were not around to help in any given scenario. The child knows he or she always has somewhere to turn. Usually grandparents abd extended family also make the child feel supported, attending school plays, graduations, and other events that may not be possible when living far away from one another.
Integrated Identity Increases the Child’s Resilience
When children understand and know their family history, they tend to feel more in control of their own lives. For example, knowing how a grandparent made it to the United States or stories from an aunt/uncle about their lives helps the child feel they are a part of something bigger other than themselves. Learning about life in previous eras and generations, and the hardships overcome helps the child learn to cope with their own trials and tribulations. This is why children need grandparents and their extended family.
Children become less “Ageist”
It’s a known fact that everyone ages and doesn’t stay young forever. Sometimes, younger children discriminate against the older generation. Being raised near grandparents and extended family changes that. They learn to have a relationship with the older generation, to respect older people, and even to rely on them for advice which will help the child in the long run. According to a study done in Belgium on children between ages 7-16, children who had a relationship with their grandparents were less likely to be ageists then those who did not.
Protects Children From Depression
A study in 2014 at Boston College showed a link between the emotional relationships a child has with their grandparents and lower rates of depression. This is especially true in adult grandchildren. But this relationship works both ways for both the grandchild and grandparent, as well as extended family members in the relationship. The study showed that the grandparents and extended family overall made the child happier and more emotionally stable.
Why Children Need Grandparents
In general, children who have a relationship with their grandparents and extended family are overall happier and more emotionally stable. Children need grandparents and extended family not just so that they can say they have “family”, but because this family offers so much support, love and memorable moments. Whenever a child feels they need help, support, stability and security, they should know their family is there for them.
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