Families are strengthened when grandparents play an important role in the family. The presence of grandparents in the lives of children pays great benefits. Parents hold the most important role in the life of a child, but grandparents influence children in small and even minor ways.
The data from a recent study out of Brigham Young University (BYU), entitled the Flourishing Families Project, showed significant results. The study was ongoing for a period of five years. The project involved 500 families who live in the northwestern
and come from all different races and background. The purpose of the study was "to better understand family life. We think that family life matters, but in the scientific world, our understanding of family life is actually quite limited. This study can help improve our understanding of how families help children do well as they become young adults. We also want to know about children who struggle. The Flourishing Families Study can help us answer some of these important questions." United States
According to an article in the Church News of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, January 7, 2012, the study looked at the relationship between parents and youth and recognized that this relationship had a great influence on youth. The study shows that, as important as this relationship is, grandparents can also have a good influence on youth. Grandparent involvement helps youth to develop critical social emotional skills. Grandparents, particularly those who do not live with the grandchildren, can concentrate on developing positive relationships rather than discipline.
The study examined the influence of grandparents by interviewing 408 grandchildren ages 10-14. Part of the study included questions for the grandchild about a particular grandparent with whom they shared a close relationship. The questions included such topics as grandparent assistance in making decisions, talking through problems, or giving advice. The study showed that there is a correlation between involved grandparents and the grandchild's treatment of other people. This involvement was also evident with some youth in their school performance.
I was pleased to read that it didn't seem to matter whether the grandparents live close or far from the grandchildren because most of my grandchildren live far from me. I was happy to read that grandparents can be influential in the lives of their grandchildren no matter the mileage between them.
The study proved the comments of Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (Ensign, June 2003): "I hope parents will not overlook the potentially powerful asset grandparents can be. Grandparents can be welcomes and listened to in formal councils or on informal occasions. They've walked the road of life 30 or more years longer than anyone else in the council. Even if grandparents live far away, grandchildren can call or email; I know ours do. A single parent may have this resource and may not be utilizing it. Grandparents can be a tremendous resource."