In you opinion, what role should grandparents play in children’s lives?

There’s a saying that goes – it takes a village to raise a child and I couldn’t agree more. Usually, with age, wisdom and patience and compassion increases; so often children will turn to grandparents when things aren’t going well at home. Especially in the teen years, the last person a child might like to turn to is the parents, and here a grandparent could be a shoulder to cry on, and the comfort here for parents is that the person your child turns to is usually someone you trust with regards to morals and values. Also because grandparents tend to not be as busy and rushed as parents are now a days; it’s a great place to truly get some quality attention In short it’s an additional safe place for your child to turn to.

Grandparents are known to spoil their grandchildren – what’s the best way for parents to address this?

I think it’s important to realize that a grandparent is someone who can really truly add value to your child’s life and your own. So be careful to not alienate them by being too strict and or petty about this. A Grandparent is someone who can master the art of unconditional love, because they love differently than parents do; so allow them to express this love. If however you feel very strongly about a certain thing, my advice would be to have an open and honest discussion in a respectable manner and state your opinion and your reasons why it is bothering you. When someone understands the reasoning behind it, it’s easier to respect the request.

A recent study of more than 1,500 children showed that those with a high level of grand-parental involvement had fewer emotional and behavioral problems – what are your thoughts on this?

This makes a lot of sense – grandparents aren’t usually responsible for the day to day care of children, so the relationship between them and their grandchildren are usually way more relaxed and permissive than between parents and children. Therefore, the child would often feel more comfortable discussing sensitive issues with a grandparent rather than with a parent. Also grandparents are sometimes seen as someone with knowledge and experience, so some children might really head their advice more than they would a parents’.

Some parents would opt to have their children raised by their grandparents (due to work etc) – do you think this can, in some way, have a negative effect on children, in the way they view their parents?

In some cases yes – there might be feelings of abandonment and being rejected by the parents, but I think it mostly depends on the relationship that the parents have with the children and the grandparents, and the reasons for choosing this route. If there is a lot of contact, explanations on why things are the way they are, it might even lead to the child respecting the parent more later in life for the sacrifices made. In conclusion – having a grandparent in your and your children’s life is a true blessing and, in my opinion one to be cherished and a relationship to be nurtured.