Grandparents Who Babysit Live Longer: Here’s Why

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One thing that is important in all of our lives is our family. It provides a touchstone and having a family can truly enhance our lives in amazing ways. Those ways are not only seen in physical benefits, they can help to keep us mentally stable as well. According to research, they can even help to keep us from being lonely and might even extend out lives.

People who are isolated are often left with a rather perplexing problem. When they face problems, they are forced to do so on their own. They have to work through their day to day lives and it can really affect them on a very profound level. Ultimately, it tends to speed up the appearance of sickness and even death.

Research has shown that many older grade school children felt less lonely when they felt secure in a relationship with their mother. In addition, they tended to be accepted by their peers and they even were able to respond better to their friends, communicating and building healthy relationships. Children who felt insecure about the relationship with their mother often experienced the opposite effect.

When children have issues associated with the relationship with their parents, they are often stressed and feel irritation easily. In addition, the relationship that exists between the child and the grandparent is very important, so it is something that needs to be nurtured.

Gerontologists came out with a study a few years ago that involved researches from Boston College. They took a look at the relationship between grandparents and their adult grandchildren and how that long-term relationship was developed. In this study, 374 grandparents and 356 grandchildren were involved and it took place over 19 years up until 2004. According to the study, strong relationships between the two resulted in less symptoms of depression for both.

Something that was interesting, however, is that the grandparents had more depression symptoms when they got support but did not also provide it. In other words, grandparents should also be giving and they get back more in return when they do so.

A number of grandparents who both gave and received support from their grandchildren saw fewer signs of depression. According to Sara M Moorman, a professor at Boston College:

“more grandparents and grandchildren to engage in this type of exchange [as it] may be a fruitful way to reduce depression in older adults.

The greater emotional support grandparents and adult grandchildren received from one another, the better their psychological health.”

The researcher Shalhevet Attar-Schwartz of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem stressed the importance of parents in this grandchild-grandparent relationship. He had the following to say:

“Parents should be aware of their role as gatekeepers in the relationship between their children and their parents. They should also be aware of grandparents’ potential to be an important resource in their children’s lives, especially if the family is undergoing a change, such as a divorce or a remarriage, or if the child is undergoing a painful or challenging experience.

Sometimes children feel that it is easier to open up to their grandparents and share their difficulties and dilemmas with them.”

The moral of the story is, grandparents are essential for the life of their grandchildren. You should be doing all that you can to bridge the generation with healthy relationships and everyone will benefit.

One politician summed things up nicely when he said:

“What children need most are the essentials that grandparents provide in abundance. They give unconditional love, kindness, patience, humor, comfort, lessons in life. And, most importantly, cookies.”

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