The special role of grandparents
How grandparents can help children to develop through storytelling.
Listening to stories broadens children's horizon. As storytellers, grandparents can fulfil one of the most important needs of children: the feeling they belong to a larger story.
Did you find this content useful?
Parenting tips direct to your inbox
Transcript of “The special role of grandparents” video
Grandfather: What would cavemen do with this stone?
Granddaughter: They would cut the sheep, the lambs... All sorts of things.
Grandfather: Because they didn't have...?
Grandfather: Because they didn't have knives, iron. And they would use...
Granddaughter: This stone.
Severino Antoñio, Ph.D.: Rooting is one of the most important needs of a child. Children must feel they belong to life, to a family, to a story, to a place. Grandparents are generally the main storytellers. They're a reference of a different time, with more silences, with a little more wisdom and these old stories.
Children need these stories to know who they are, where they belong. They're characters in a story and they need to know all of it. They need rooting to become aware they're part of a life movement that started before and will continue after them. Listening to such stories broadens children's horizon.
Joan Lombardi, Ph.D.: I think grandparents are very important, not just because I am a grandmother myself, but because we know that, once you become a grandparent, you are a little older, hopefully you're wiser, and then you can provide that respite for your children as they care for their own children.
Saul Cypel, M.D.: In order for grandparents to be able to say certain things to parents, they must have created a certain intimacy when raising their children that enables this opening. They could wait until their children seek advice. Maybe they have to watch from the sidelines, because parents don't take it very well. So they wait.
But if you have a close relationship with your children, when difficult situations come up, they will certainly come to you.
Vera Cordeiro, M.D.: Grandparents have reached a point in their lives where they have the time and wisdom to give themselves over to that child without having to be perfect. They know it's impossible. Their role is to play, to be there, to have a relationship. They just have to be themselves.