Changing times have also forced a change in the family structure. With the joint family system giving way to nuclear families, grandparents and grandchildren no longer connect as much as those of previous generations.
But did you know that grandparents are not just a great fund of stories, they also help you and your child learn more about your family history, heritage and values. What's more, if you encourage your child to spend as much time as she can with her grandparents, it will be immensely beneficial for all involved. The effects can last lifelong too. In fact, a 2013 study presented at the American Sociological Association suggested that grandparents and grandchildren have 'real, measurable effects on each other's well-being long into grandchildren's adulthood'.
Here are the life lessons your child can learn from grandparents:
- Change is the essence of life: Grandparents can play the role of a time machine and take your child into the past. They can help your child understand how things used to be and how they have changed over time. This can make your child realise that change is constant, and that she should adapt to and accept them.
- Everyone has a role to play: Your child will also come to know what his grandparents used to do when they were younger and the role they played in making a difference. This will help him understand that everyone is important, that he too can also make things happen.
- Don't take anything for granted: The comfortable lifestyle your child enjoys with her every want taken care of, can make her feel entitled to a good life. However, when your child learns from her grandparents that they never had access to most of the comforts she enjoys, she will learn that she shouldn't take anything for granted.
- Family history and traditions are important: Most parents lead busy lives, which doesn't give them the time to familiarise their children with their family's past and traditions. As a result, children are unaware of such important details. Grandparents can help fill this gap in the child's knowledge and help him get acquainted with his roots.
- Don't give up: As your child grows up, she will begin exploring the world and face challenges. It is possible that at times, she may fail to succeed or think of quitting when overwhelmed by a problem. But, looking at how her grandparents face old age or ill-health, can teach your child to never give up.
- Take everyone along: We all have our own likes and dislikes. But, it is important to learn how to get along with everyone and take them with us, resolving the differences that exist. Grandparents have the ability to model this effectively by listening to concerns and addressing them, and gently persuading everyone to come together.
- Cut down the pace: Most children are enthusiastic and want to do everything at great speed — talk fast, run fast, eat fast and finish their homework fast. However, to enjoy life, an individual needs to slow down. Grandparents can show their grandchild that he doesn't always have to be a rush. He can relish life and still accomplish everything that he wants to.
- Be calm and patient: The ability to remain calm and patient is important to help us focus and think better, achieve our goals, make friends, stay healthy and so on. But it is only as we grow older and gain experience that we acquire these qualities. Grandparents, however, are inherently and intuitively empathetic with their grandchildren. This can help your child learn to be calm and patient too.
Involved grandparents do make a difference in the lives of their grandchildren. In fact, a better inter-generational connect can lead to greater emotional and psychological health for both grandparents and grandchildren. So, as parents, ensure that your child gets to meet or speak with his grandparents — even if these interactions happen only over the phone or a video call.
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