Grandparents are valuable to children’s social networks and well-being. In this post I will discuss scientific findings of a recent study about the level of grandparental support provided to children. In addition, the study examined if grandparent support is associated with prosocial behavior in children. Research-based tips will be given.
Support can be seen as how much help people can count on, from friends, family and other important persons, particularly in difficult situations. There are different types of support, for example:
- Emotional support: expressing love and care
- Instrumental support: providing concrete assistance
- Appraisal support: affirming competence
Design of the study
This study explored the importance of grandparents in relation to other members of children’s social networks. A total of 120 children between 9 and 13 years old participated in the study. Children and their teachers completed a questionnaire.
Support of grandparents
The results of the study showed that:
- Subsequent to parents, children perceived grandparents as the second most important and close relationship.
- Parents supported children the most. After parents, grandparents provided the second highest level of support to children. Grandmothers provided more support than grandfathers.
- More grandparent support was related to more prosocial behavior in children.
- Grandparental support was not related to children’s problem behaviors.
- Remember that both parents and grandparents are important for children’s social networks and wellbeing.
- Be supportive to your (grand)child. This may be related to more prosocial behavior in children. There are different types of support. For example:
- Talk about things that are important to your (grand)child
- Help (grand)children with homework
- Make your (grand)child feel better if something bothers him/her