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Have you ever wondered how your relationship with your adult grandchildren can impact your emotional well-being? A fascinating study conducted by Sara M. Moorman, PhD, and Jeffrey E. Stokes, MA, explored the connection between the bond you share with your grandchildren and your mental health. The findings might surprise you!
The researchers analyzed data from the Longitudinal Study of Generations, which collected information on three- and four-generation families in the U.S. from 1985 to 2004. Their study focused on the concept of solidarity – the closeness, contact, and support exchanged between grandparents and adult grandchildren.
They discovered 3 main things, none of which are too far outside of common sense but interesting to see. Then we’ll get into 10 ways to help strike the right balance.
1. Feeling close to your adult grandchildren can lift your spirits.
When grandparents and adult grandchildren have a strong bond, both generations benefit from reduced feelings of depression. So, investing time in building and maintaining that special connection with your adult grandchildren can truly brighten your days.
2. Frequent contact can be a double-edged sword.
While staying in touch is essential, the study found that more frequent contact can sometimes increase depressive symptoms for both grandparents and adult grandchildren. It’s essential to strike a balance between staying connected and respecting each other’s space.
3. Giving and receiving support matters.
For grandparents, receiving support from adult grandchildren without providing support in return can lead to increased depressive symptoms. It’s important to maintain a healthy balance of giving and receiving support, as this can help you feel more fulfilled in your role as a grandparent.
So, what does all this mean for you?
It’s clear that the relationship you share with your adult grandchildren can have a significant impact on your emotional well-being. To make the most of this bond, focus on building a strong, loving connection with your grandchildren. Find the right balance of staying in touch and giving each other space, and aim to support each other in a balanced manner.
Here are a few ideas experts recommend:
10 ideas to help find the right balance with adult grandchildren:
- Schedule regular catch-ups: Set aside time for a monthly or biweekly phone call, video chat, or in-person visit to stay connected without overwhelming each other.
- Share hobbies or interests: Engage in activities you both enjoy, like gardening, cooking, or crafting, to strengthen your bond and create shared memories.
- Celebrate milestones: Acknowledge and celebrate important events in each other’s lives, such as birthdays, graduations, or job promotions, to show you care and are invested in each other’s happiness.
- Create a private family group chat: Establish a group chat on a messaging app to share updates, photos, and news with each other. This can help maintain a sense of connection without the pressure of constant one-on-one communication.
- Offer help when needed: Be there for your adult grandchildren in times of need, like when they’re moving, starting a new job, or facing a personal challenge. Providing support when it’s most needed will help maintain a balanced relationship.
- Encourage independence: Recognize and respect your adult grandchildren’s need for autonomy. Encourage their independence by offering advice only when asked and respecting their decisions.
- Be open to learning from each other: Embrace the opportunity to learn from your adult grandchildren, whether it’s about technology, social issues, or their personal interests. This mutual exchange of knowledge can strengthen your relationship.
- Create traditions together: Establish meaningful family traditions or rituals, such as holiday gatherings, special meals, or annual vacations, to maintain a strong connection and create lasting memories.
- Keep communication open and honest: Encourage open conversations about each other’s feelings, needs, and boundaries. This will help you better understand and respect each other’s space.
- Show appreciation and gratitude: Express your love and gratitude for your adult grandchildren regularly. Small gestures, like sending a thoughtful message or giving a heartfelt compliment, can go a long way in nurturing your bond.
I hope these insights help you understand the power of your bond with your adult grandchildren and inspire you to continue nurturing those precious relationships. After all, a strong connection with your loved ones is essential to living a happy, fulfilling life.