Stretched Too Thin? Lean On Them

Games with Grandfather, Alexander Hohenlohe Burr

Games with Grandfather, Alexander Hohenlohe Burr

So worried about your job – the one you just lost, are afraid of losing, or are barely holding onto while you do the work of two people – so worried you can’t give your kids enough attention?  So anxious it’s bleeding into your family and your kids are getting cranky, too?  Lean on G & G, Grandma and Grandpa. 
If you’re fortunate enough to have extended family (or honorary extended family), now’s a great time to enlist their assistance. 

Research published in the February issue of the Journal of Family Psychology suggests that spending time with a grandparent is linked with better social skills and fewer behavior problems among adolescents. 

1,515  11- to 16-year olds from over 1,000 schools reported that the more they talked to a grandparent about social and school activities, got advice or felt they could ask for money, the less hyperactive and disruptive they were.  They were also more likely to get along with their peers. The effect was even greater  in single parent or divorcing parent families. 

Lead author Attar-Schwartz, PhD, of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem:  “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.”

If children and adolescents whose parents have separated or divorced see their grandparents as confidants and sources of comfort, maybe those stressed by their parents’ recession-related woes can, too?  Why not give it a try?  Reach out to G & G or Aunt Tilda as resources.  Encourage your kids to confide in another trusted adult.  For your sake – and your kids’. 

Copyright © 2009 Marlin S. Potash.  All rights reserved.

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One response to “Stretched Too Thin? Lean On Them

  1. Good post, Marlin. I advocate to my clients and friends the idea of building a bit of breathing space into their lives … a time to sit back and either block out the world or do something you really like doing. I hadn’t really consciously thought of the role grandparents might play in allowing everyone to do so. Kids and adolescents get time with someone you trust (time that might count as breathing space for them) and you get the time you need to sit back and take care of your own mental health. It’s too bad that in today’s world many people don’t live close enough to their parents to make good use of this advice.

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