I don’t know about you, but I love – and I mean I LOVE – my grandparents. Always have and always will – NOTHING could ever change that. I spent every summer as a kid shuffling back and forth between each set of grandparents’ houses. I lived with the maternal set my senior year of high school and I even lived with the paternal set for nearly a year when I experienced some financial setbacks. Needless to say, I have a very special bond with both sets. I’m incredibly grateful that my parents were so adamant that I needed to cultivate those relationships while growing up. They could’ve just been getting me out of their hair and off their hands every summer, but I’d like to think their motives were really more about helping me to establish a solid bond with my grandparents.
I have a feeling that a large majority of us who were fortunate enough to form a relationship with our grandparents can’t help but feel warm fuzziness when contemplating those special times together. As it turns out, a recent survey released by AARP finds that 90% of grandparents believe they play an important role in their grandchildren’s lives. Based on this survey’s results, it appears their assumptions might be right on target.
It is reported that more than 80% of grandparents speak to their grandchildren on the phone at least once a month, while more than one third use new technologies such as email, text or Skype. Some conversations center around day to day events, though 50% or more claim to communicate about morals, values, peer pressure, bullying, illegal drugs, drinking or religion and spirituality. This data indicates that grandparents might serve as a healthy outlet for advice and/or for venting frustrations.
Going beyond birthday and holiday gifts, a whopping 40% of those surveyed admitted to spending more than $500 over the last year on their grandchildren for educational, medical or everyday living costs. With the ever shifting economy as well as cultural and generational variations at play, many grandparents have grandchildren who are living with them, while others are providing daycare services when hectic schedules are involved. This proves that grandparents can provide a safety net for families as well as improve the quality of their grandchildren’s lives.
Grandchildren – don’t get so caught up in YOU and your life that you stop nurturing your relationship with your grandparents. Put it on your calendar to call them weekly and thank them for all the fantastic things they have done for you throughout your life. Hint: National Grandparents day is September 9th – that gives you several months to plan something extra special.
Grandparents – keep on being such a phenomenal support system for your grandchildren. You may not feel appreciated at times, but you really are making a difference. When maturity takes hold, they will thank you for it.
Statistics taken from AARP Survey www.aarp.org/grandparentsurvey
Research & Community Education