The Role of Grandparents in Children's Lives

The relationship between grandparents and grandchildren is a unique and special bond that enriches life for both generations. Parents offer so much more than we could ask for.
The Role of Grandparents in Children's Lives
Elena Sanz Martín

Written and verified by the psychologist Elena Sanz Martín.

Last update: 27 December, 2022

The role of grandparents within a family and in society has changed a lot in recent times. Their intervention, which in the past was more discreet and optional, has now come to be, in many cases, more active and necessary.

The role of grandparents

The figure of grandparents is very important in grandchildren’s lives and in family life in general. They’re extremely valuable, both in the logistics of family life as well as in the emotional development of children

The voice of experience

First of all, grandparents are a source of knowledge and experience. Thanks to their age and all they’ve lived, they’re able to offer a different, broader perspective than younger generations.

In situations of crisis, anger, fear or confusion, their point of view can help revitalize their grandchildren and help them make better decisions.

Emotional support

Both for parents as well as grandchildren, grandparents are an important point of connection. This is especially true after the birth of a first child, as parents often feel afraid and overwhelmed. The support and advice of grandparents can offer peace and encouragement to first-time parents.

The Role of Grandparents in Children's Lives

Furthermore, grandparents can help in everything regarding their grandchildren’s careIn this way, they show their own children that they’ll be able to take on the task of caring for their new addition.

The role of grandparents in a family’s culture

Grandparents are the central nucleus and point of unity in a family. Thanks to them, their descendants can come to learn more about the history of their family clan. Furthermore, they contribute to producing a sense of identity and belonging when they tell stories about the family’s history.

At the same time, their role is fundamental when it comes to passing on family values and keeping the family united. 

In general, it’s grandparents who make the greatest effort to gather the family together. And it’s grandparents who most enjoy seeing their offspring spending time together. Grandparents remind us of the importance and privilege that family bonds represent.

Responsibility and empathy

Grandparents encourage in their grandchildren a natural sense of sympathy and respect. 

It’s not uncommon to see grandparents magically calm their grandchild in the midst of a tantrum, even when parents are unsuccessful. At the same time, while children may be reluctant to obey their parents, they’re quick to do whatever their grandparents ask.

Furthermore, by understanding their grandparents’ age and limitations, children develop empathy and a natural caring instinct. In fact, they’re capable of worrying about their grandparents and modifying their behavior in order to assure their well-being.

Learning from grandchildren

Grandchildren aren’t the only ones who benefit from this multigenerational relationship. Just as grandparents bless and enrich the lives of their grandchildren, grandchildren also have a positive impact on their grandparents.

Grandchildren help grandparents to feel younger and more lively. They give their grandparents the opportunity to re-experience parenthood from a more relaxed and friendly angle. They create a bond of trust and complicity that is beneficial to both parties.

Furthermore, older children can bring their grandparents into the debates, technology and advances of the modern world. They can help them become more involved and advance in society so they don’t get left behind.

The role of grandparents in education

As we’ve mentioned above, the role of grandparents in the past was much different from the one they have today. Grandparents were often less involved in previous generations, and their participation was more optional. Today, however, many families find themselves needing to reach out to grandparents for financial or logistic support.

The Role of Grandparents in Children's Lives

This is due to the current configuration of families and society in modern times. However, this often places grandparents in a complicated situation. They’re expected to take responsibility for the care of their grandchildren, but at the same time, parents ask them not to interfere in their education.

It’s common for parents to tend to “spoil” their grandchildren on occasion. And it’s also common for parents to feel their authority being questioned by certain acts on behalf of grandparents.

It’s okay for fathers and mothers to want to be responsible for making decisions regarding their children’s upbringing. However, don’t forget that grandparents are taking on a task that doesn’t belong to them, out of love. Sometimes, this goes beyond their physical and emotional capacities.

Therefore, try to focus on what’s really important in the upbringing of your children. As for everything else, trust in your parent’s criteria and be thankful for their support. If you can come together to work as allies, everyone will win – especially your children .

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.