Children who spend time with their grandparents may develop better social skills and have fewer behavior problems as they mature, according to a new study. They may also benefit from more home-cooked meals.
The research, published in February's Journal of Family Psychology, found that children and adolescents whose parents have either divorced or separated see their grandparents as sources of comfort.
"Grandparents are a positive force for all families but play a significant role in families undergoing difficulties.
They can reduce the negative influence of parents separating and be a resource for children who are going through these family changes," said Dr. Shalhevet Attar-Schwartz from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and lead author of the study.
A total of 1,515 English and Welsh children ranging from 11 to 16 years old took part in the study. The participants were in three family structures: living with two biological parents, a single parent and within stepfamilies.
The students reported in the study that the more they talked to a grandparent about social and school actives, the less hyperactive and disruptive they were.
"This was found across all three family structures. But adolescents in single-parent households and stepfamilies benefited the most," Attar-Schwartz said.