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Do children really need grandparents?

(50 Posts)
absent Thu 16-Jan-14 21:08:03

Of course there are plenty of grandparents and grandchildren who have close and loving relationships and that is delightful and beneficial to both generations. However, if grandchildren don't have much or anything to do with their grandparents, through death, distance, divorce, family break-up, lack of interest or whatever, does it really matter to the child? Even when there has once been a close relationship and it ends, I don't think much harm is done to the child. It's just one of life's lessons and kids are very resilient.

And we have certainly had enough requests for advice from distraught mothers concerning the very harmful behaviour of mothers and mothers-in-law towards their grandchildren to be well aware that not all grannies are lovely people.

Thinking about family relationships in general in the past, I suspect that our generation of grandparents, especially grandmothers, is just a bit too self-important and prissy about their place in their grandchildren's lives.

Tegan Thu 16-Jan-14 21:20:43

I think that's because so many of us are helping our children to hold down careers and buy homes, so we are quite important. I knew none of my grandparents, although, for some reason I'm sure I have a lot of my grandads genes; he was mad about horses. He died at just about the time that I was born.

Kiora Thu 16-Jan-14 21:26:25

I have wonderful memories of my grandad. He made me feel special and loved. He passed down family stories. He made us laugh. He added something to mine and my siblings lives. I have carried and cherished his memory all my life. I can picture him now. I may not of really needed him, I would have survived with out him. But he enriched my life. If I'm lucky i may have added something of value to my grand children's lives. Perhaps the memory of my love for them will give them courage and confidence to live full lives. Or perhaps they will only occasionally smile at a memory either way Yes children really do need grandparents.

Ana Thu 16-Jan-14 21:29:26

I don't think they need them. It's nice if they have them, as long as they're supportive of the parents and don't interfere or cause trouble. My own DD only ever had one Nana and didn't see much of her as she lived quite a distance away.

My own GC have two grandmothers, two grandfathers and a step-grandfather (and depending on how quickly my ex gets a move on they might yet have a step-grandmother as well!) grin

Lona Thu 16-Jan-14 22:04:56

I don't think they need them.
I didn't know any of mine and haven't missed them, but now I am one, I can see that it would could have been a good thing.

FlicketyB Thu 16-Jan-14 22:11:54

What you never had, you do not miss. My maternal Grandmother made me comfortable with who I was. Everyone else, in the kindest most helpful way was busy trying to make me conform because they thought I would be much happier (I wasn't noticeable unhappy). I would have managed if she hadn't been there but, Oh how I appreciate her presence.

On balance I think if you can belong to an extended family which works well, then it is the best situation to brought up in.

mollie Thu 16-Jan-14 22:28:01

Well, I managed well enough without grandparents so I don't think we are essential but good grandparents can certainly offer something extra to grandchildren and their families too. Getting the balance right between helping and hindering is the biggest problem. Personally, I don't feel grandparents have any rights over grandchildren so wouldn't push myself anywhere uninvited. Apart from babysitting and helping out in practical terms we can offer another view on life, a link to the past, and promote the things (like books and reading) that her parents don't think overly important.

jinglbellsfrocks Thu 16-Jan-14 22:34:13

It must give them extra security, knowing there are two more "parents" waiting to catch them if it ever became necessary. It surprises me what young kids think about. My gs, when he was quite small, suddenly said "I suppose if anything happened to Mummy and Daddy, I would come and live here" (he was staying with us at the time). I was quite taken aback. You never know what goes through their little minds.

jinglbellsfrocks Thu 16-Jan-14 22:36:54

It's bound to be a good thing to know that there are others who love you unconditionally, just like mum and dad do.

jinglbellsfrocks Thu 16-Jan-14 22:37:47

Bet yours ars glad to have you around absent. And not just for the chocolate cake.

jinglbellsfrocks Thu 16-Jan-14 22:38:18

I'll shut up now.

Nonu Thu 16-Jan-14 22:50:12

I adore being a grandparent. However, it is not so necessary to a child as some G/p seem to think it is .
In their their own little world as long as there is a Mum & Dad things are okay.

jinglbellsfrocks Thu 16-Jan-14 22:52:43

Who's in their own little world? confused

Aka Thu 16-Jan-14 22:56:32

Yes, next question.

grannyactivist Thu 16-Jan-14 22:56:36

Short answer absent is no.
However, my grandson doesn't need me, but he loves me, as I love him, unconditionally. Can one have too much of a good thing? smile

Ana Thu 16-Jan-14 22:59:13

Nonu, I agree with you - in children's own little world they accept whoever they have, whether that includes grandparents or not.

Nonu Thu 16-Jan-14 23:03:01


jinglbellsfrocks Thu 16-Jan-14 23:05:04

Suppose it depends what you mean by "need".

Absent what is the point of this question? confused grin

absent Thu 16-Jan-14 23:20:22

It's a question so the point is to listen to answers – in other words, curiosity. Isn't that what all questions are for?

jinglbellsfrocks Thu 16-Jan-14 23:27:10

So long as you're not advocating mass extermination for all us unnecessary grans. grin

jinglbellsfrocks Thu 16-Jan-14 23:33:06

Actually the answer is a positive yes. When you think about it. wink

Nelliemoser Thu 16-Jan-14 23:47:47

No! its not essential, but it's very nice to have extra relatives who care about you and perhaps spoil you a bit in the way parents don't. Parents have to tell you off, nag you about being tidy and such like
Grandparents can generally do the fun bits with you and that makes you feel more special.

I have very happy memories of my one set of Grandparents. Christmas parties and meals at grandparents and auntie's houses. They they are different from being in your own home. These happy times if you are blessed enough to have had them are very important

We used to often visit my in laws who were 25 miles from where we lived when the children were small. When my Mil died, my two were 23 and 21. They were both very emotional when it came to leaving "Nannies" house for the last time as it had held so many of theses happy memories.

I think it helps every one to have "special times" and happy memories to look back on. It is much easier to feel accepted by a group if it's part of your family, tribe, pride, herd, flock or whatever. I think it can be that primeval an instinct.
Which fact is well known to fostering and adoption agencies.

POGS Fri 17-Jan-14 00:52:38

It's a question that could be answered by another question isn't it.

Do you need a mother and father too raise you.

Do you need to get married.

Do you have to have a family to be successfully be married.

I think it's a case of 'You don't know what you have till it's gone'. Or ''You don't miss what you have never had'.

Obviously you do not NEED grandparents but if you have loving, warm grandparents you know that they are a major part of your life and something would be missing without them. If you have grandparents who are not so loving and warm I dare say you would not
Give a toss if they were in your life or not as they have not had any impact on your well being, nurturing etc.

I think there comes a time when your grandchildren find their own feet and you have to accept that your relationship changes. I also believe that if you have the fortune to have had a relationship that has created a bond between you and your grandchildren that bond whilst it will have changed will be a lifetime love for each other and that knowledge is sufficient to see you through.

There is no right or wrong to whether or not children need grandparents but there is a right or wrong as to whether or not you as a grandparent have done the best for them. You brought their parent into the world, you should accept your responsibility to see the consequence of your actions through to it's best conclusion.

Granny23 Fri 17-Jan-14 02:42:02

I did have two Grannies but no Grandads (both dead) but did not realise what I had missed until I saw my own Dad (and FIL) with his DGC and later my DH with his. I do not believe that GPs are essential to a child's development but certainly think they are life enhancing.

Looking at this from the other side - imagine a family of Mum + Dad + 1 child where there is no regular contact with significant 'others' be they GPs, aunts/uncles, cousins or best friends/neighbours. Would that child not be deprived of a range of loving relationships, stimulus, some one to turn to? Who would comfort them during a separation/illness/birth of another child? They say that each child needs unconditional love from at least one adult in their early years. They also say that 'it takes a village (or a family?) to raise a child'.

absent Fri 17-Jan-14 04:27:37

Surely an only child of only children with dead grandparents can still have many loving contacts, lots of stimuli and plenty of understanding. Different but not necessarily inferior, I should have thought.