We are seeing a revolution in the way generations connect in America. Grandparents are around us longer than ever because they’re living longer.
But the truth is that for the first time in U.S. history, millions of children are actually vulnerable to having a smaller amount of time with their grandparents than previous generations. According to the latest federal research, while women in the U.S. overall are having fewer babies, mothers between 40 and 54 are having more. The increasing age of motherhood accentuates a dramatic shift that’s been taking shape for decades. Just to make a comparison, in 1972, about 180,000 children were born to mothers 35 and older, and by 2008, that number had more than tripled, to 603,113.
Scientists have long-held that grandparents play an enormous role in children’s intellectual, behavioral, and social development. But where does that leave kids, especially those born from older parents, who may have few or no grandparents in their lives?
The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Psychological Association have no studies that specifically measure how the non-appearance of grandparents affects a child’s personal growth and development.
There’s value in examining the power of a particular kind of relationship, should you not also investigate the absence of it?
Even that every grandparent is indispensable, my own child has grandparents from my side but I can’t help feeling that he was also ripped off, because he never got to know his father’s or experience their unique blend of influences. My child only gets one set of maternal grandparents, and the one that belonged to his father is gone.
Even that, I can consider my childhood richer because, for a while at least, I had all my grandparents, to be more specific from my mother’s side most of my years; and I spent half of my life around them enriching my memory until these days.