Here’s some work that underscores the importance of the grandparent/grandchild relationship. A study published in the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry finds teens who form close, loving relationships with a grandparent have fewer behavioral and emotional problems than less-attached teens. The benefits to the young people were even greater when they were also close to the parent who was the grandparent’s child.
The study, at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, surveyed 1,400 teens, age 12 to 18 about hyperactivity, emotional symptoms such as excessive worrying, social skills, and fighting and bullying. They also rated their relationships to grandparents and parents.
For those with average emotional closeness to their parents, contact with their closest grandparent was linked with reduced adjustment difficulties. For teens who had very close parental relationships, the closest grandparent played an even stronger role in reducing those problems.
Most of the grandparents identified as closest to teens were maternal grandmothers aged 70 or older.