Family Matters Institute » Research Publications » Do Grandparents Matter?
Do Grandparents Matter?

The report brings together the results of research jointly undertaken by the University of Hertfordshire and the Family Matters Institute of the views of children in relation to their grandparents and the grand-parenting experience of grandparents. It reveals a unique relationship that exists between the older generation and the youngest. It is a relationship of love and trust that enables the children to use their grandparents as confidantes and counsellors as well as playmates and cookery instructors.

Children valued the role that grandparents played in offering noncritical support particularly emotional advice and guidance. They also highlighted how they enjoyed being with their grandparents in terms of providing time to focus on a range of play and other enjoyable activities. The grandparents find that the grandchildren bring something of unique value into their life that gives them an additional raison d’être and contributes to their health and longevity. Grandparents do not count the cost of either the time or the material benefits they bring to their grandchildren; often giving self sacrificially to help provide for things that are necessary in bringing up the children.

Twenty percent of the grandparents in this survey say that there has been a marriage or relationship breakdown in their family that has affected their grandchildren with more than 80% of these respondents saying that they have been able to support the children during difficult times and one in five saying that they have been refused access to their grandchildren.

The case studies in the Report focus upon the role and function of grandparents where marriage/relationship breakdown occurs. These are just 10 of a large number of accounts, received during the research, of what grandparents believe to be incidents of injustice often amounting to child abuse committed by British Family Courts.

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