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Doing the Grandparent Gig


What will your grandkids say about you fifteen or twenty years from now? Perhaps they will echo the response of university students who took part in a study by Dr. Mariana Brussoni and Susan Boon of the University of Calgary.

Participants were asked to respond to the study in terms of the grandparent to whom they felt closest. In these grandparent sweepstakes, maternal grandmothers came in first, with paternal grandmothers, coming a distant second.

Students put a sense of family history at the top of the list of benefits bestowed by their grandparent, followed by unconditional acceptance, insight into the aging process, supportive advice and wisdom, and help in understanding parents.

Grandparents and grandchildren participated in a broad array of social activities – such as attending family gatherings, visiting friends and relatives, dining out, and playing cards and other games.

“The more young adults believe they share strong, emotionally fulfilling relationships with their closest grandparent, the more they perceive that person as an influential force in their lives,” the researchers said.

And “Forget computer games, expensive fancy dolls, and high-tech toys for younger children,” advise Kathryn and Allan Zullo in A Boomer’s Guide to Grandparenting (Andrews McMeel Publishing). Instead, give them your love and time. According to the authors, grandparents play five important roles in their grandchildren’s lives. They are playmate, friend, teacher, comforter and family historian.

Wisdom is born in wonder.
– Socrates