Why we want every grandparent to be a Most Valuable Grandparent.
Have you noticed the headline on our homepage: “Become an MVG”? It’s not there just to be catchy or cute. We truly believe that being a valuable grandparent is what we should all strive to be.
The intangibles that grandparents offer their grandchildren have a positive effect on the children’s wellbeing. Grandparents are a source of security and stability, and provide unconditional love, wisdom and fun. They provide support, both financial and emotional. Numerous studies have shown that children who feel close to a grandparent have lower rates of depression into adulthood. What’s more, grandparents who feel successful and competent in their role have a reduced chance of depression—and even live longer.
According to one study, the qualities children see as important in a grandparent are kindness, patience and a sense of fun. In a series of focus groups with children ages 6-10, children expressed that they value time with an adult who is interested enough in them to really listen, and one who is ready and willing to pursue activities that the child enjoys. Children who see their grandparents as uncritical advocates seek them out as confidantes.
Strikingly, none of the children in these groups mentioned grandparents buying them things or paying for expensive treats as something that they appreciated about their grandparents. This is an important thing to remember!
In other studies. as many as 9 out of 10 adults indicate that a grandparent influenced their beliefs and values. What you are teaching is getting through, and it matters!
Defining a Most Valuable Grandparent
The children in this study made it very clear that the most important thing grandparents can do is to be interested in their grandchildren as individuals. They mentioned doing things like cooking together, sharing stories, and playing games. They appreciated grandparents who knew the names of their friends and asked how last weekend’s soccer match went. It’s not the gifts, the outings for ice cream, or the trip to Disneyland. Being there and being interested is the key to a close relationship with your grandchild, and a close relationship is mutually beneficial to your health and well-being.
How to be an MVG
We know that the first step to being able to be there for your grandchildren in a meaningful way is to have a good relationship with their parents. That’s why so much of what we offer here at More Than Grand focuses on supporting them. We developed New Grandparent Essentials to make sure you’d have everything you need to become a valuable part of your grandchild’s life, all in one convenient resource. (You can learn more about it here.) Once you’ve completed New Grandparent Essentials, it’s just a matter of showing up.
Showing up seems harder if your grandchildren live far away, but it just looks different. Our website is full of ideas for connecting from a distance. If you are committed to being a valuable part of your grandchild’s life, there are lots of ways to do it. Check out The Long Distance Grandparent if you have grandchildren ages 2-10.
What else can we do to help you become an MVG? Let us know in the comments.