Grandparents offer special help to blended family kids

Blended family children who spend time with their grandparents are generally better off emotionally. Recent studies show that step family adolescents who spend time with a grandparent tend to have better social skills and fewer behavioral problems. Many children, especially those living in either single parent or step family households, see their grandparents as confidants and sources of comfort.  While grandparents have a lot to offer all families, they play a significant role in families under stress.  They can help roll back the negative influences inherent in divorce or parental death, and be a supportive resource for kids who are entering into a new blended family situation.

Grandparents level the playing field

The more they talk with a grandparent about their social life and school activities, get advice, or simply feel a loving family connection, the less hyperactive and disruptive kids tend to be. They are also more likely to get along with their peers. This is the case in all types of families, but adolescents in a step family typically benefit the most. The influence of grandparental involvement with blended family kids is generally stronger compared to children from two biological parent families.

Grandparents preserve a sense of family

While many children tend to be closer to their maternal grandmothers, the blended family scenario often gives kids four sets of grandparents.  Sensitive step parents who value the role involved and understanding grandparents can play make it a priority to include grandparents in extended family gatherings whenever possible, and arrange visits for their kids and step kids on a regular basis.  Supportive relationships with other family members outside the immediate family can also lead to better adjustment for children and adolescents. The reliability and continuity of their relationship with grandparents can be a great source of comfort for troubled step family members.

Three generation homes that have stepfamilies

Possibly because of the economic downturn, families are now more frequently living in a three-generation home, grandparents living with their children and grandchildren. From a developmental point of view, this return to a strong extended family may well be a very good thing for blended family kids. All too often, blended family kids can feel lost in an environment of change, and grandparents offer a wonderful and loving alternative to feeling lost, out of control, or like an outsider.

His, hers, theirs in the blended family

Whether your child spends time with his paternal, maternal, or step grandparents, the benefits to him are likely to be the same. Unconditional love, understanding, support, and a good old fashioned sense of right and wrong are where grandparents excel. If your parents, or the parents of your ex-spouses, fit the bill as role models, confidantes, counselors, or simply someone to hang out with, give your kids and step kids a break. Grandparents always seem to know how to make everything better. Just ask them!