“Sometimes perfect love doesn't go all the way to the first grandson,” goes a Welsh proverb. And the truth is that when a grandfather or grandmother first sees their grandson, they feel a series of unspeakable emotions.
Love has many facets and it is fantastic to discover at this stage of life that you can still experience new emotions with great intensity. This discovery gives them new energy. And soon the child will discover that his grandfather is his best friend and teacher of life. Then it is when a very special relationship is created that leaves footprints that mark forever.
Enthusiasm, gratitude and a hint of concern
When grandparents first pick up their grandson, the first thing they feel is usually deep gratitude. Gratitude because everything went well and they can hug that little creature they already know will revolutionize their world.
With the wisdom that life gave them, they know that they must remain in the background because the arrival of the baby is a very special time for parents as well. But they still manage to be available in case of need, to offer support in case of need and to give advice when asked.
But with the joy and excitement comes a hint of worry as well. Grandparents are aware of the challenge of raising a child, so it is common for them to worry about all the challenges that new parents will face. However, it also reassures them to know that their children can have their support, guidance and wisdom.
In fact, it has been seen that the mother-daughter relationship improves when a child is born, because the grandmother puts aside her role as mother to take on a new one, that of friend and mentor of her daughter, thus elevating the relationship to a higher level. level of intimacy. Suddenly, the daughter begins to realize all the sacrifices her mother has made, and she understands the enormous love she feels, so normally their relationship improves, becomes more solid.
They will have to reinvent their identity
The new generation of grandparents is quite far from the classic image of the grandmother staying in the kitchen and the grandfather going to pick up the grandchildren after school. Today's grandparents are much more active, but even so, this new role requires them to rebuild their identity.
The arrival of the first grandson means that from that moment on they will also be grandparents, and this leads to a restructuring of their "I". Some people may suddenly feel "older" and may have difficulty taking on the new role.
But those who take on change in a positive way rebuild a richer identity, so they experience a greater sense of well-being, develop a new purpose in life, and begin to feel more fulfilled. There are also many grandparents who feel renewed with the arrival of their grandson, they feel they have more strength and energy.
In fact, today most people become grandparents in their fifties, a time in life when many have left behind the "tyranny of duty" described by Karen Horney to follow their wishes. At this stage the urge to impress others is usually left behind and one begins to live more fully, so many grandparents take on the new role pleasantly, with a much more relaxed, wise attitude and a more open mind than when they were parents.
The grandchildren, a second chance to be enjoyed calmly and conscientiously
The magic of grandparents is that they don't need to take on the role of parents. They know what it means to raise a child, but they are also aware that their role is to accompany children as they grow, pass on their wisdom and support them in difficult times.
Grandparents listen and give good advice, have the time to listen to the problems of their grandchildren, allow them to be themselves without punishing them, cultivate illusion and nurture complicity. Their job is to build an emotional bond that serves as an anchor for the grandchildren, so they often intercede even with their parents, knowing that there is nothing so serious that it cannot be solved with love and understanding.
Grandparents know that every moment counts, they are aware that the time they spend with their grandchildren is limited, so they try to make it as enjoyable as possible. Grandparents know, like anyone else, to take advantage of the here and now. And children feel it, so they too enjoy this full presence.
Grandparents and grandchildren: a beneficial relationship for both
The contact of grandparents with grandchildren is very beneficial for the elderly, because it not only reduces the risk of falling into depression, but also of developing neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia. A study conducted by the University of Cowan, in which 500 seniors were analyzed, found that grandparents who had been actively involved in caring for their grandchildren lived, on average, five years longer than those who had no grandchildren.
This is because grandchildren not only keep their grandparents physically but mentally active as well. Furthermore, having to "take care" of grandchildren at certain times also encourages them to take care of themselves.
Of course, grandchildren also benefit from this special relationship. A study conducted at the University of Oxford found that, of the 1.515 children and adolescents surveyed, those who had a close relationship with their grandparents reported a greater sense of well-being.
Psychologists found that the key was that grandparents often cushioned the impact of negative events in their grandchildren's lives, helping to calm them and make them see problems from a different perspective. This indicates that grandparents are a source of stability and resilience that children and adolescents do not always find in their parents.