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The Power of Grandparents

September 10th is National Grandparents Day.

If you’re a grandparent, you already know how much your grandchildren mean to you, but you may not realize the influence you have on them. A 2011 study from the Brigham Young University Department of Family Life examined the role grandparents play in the development of children. “After adjusting for parental closeness, the time spent with grandparents showed a stronger positive response towards pro-social behavior and school engagement. This connection was similarly strong, regardless of income, in one parent or two parent homes.”

This relationship also has an effect on mental health. Another study, which was presented at the 2013 Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association, found that “both grandparents and adult grandchildren who felt emotionally close to the other generation had fewer symptoms of depression”.

Dr. Susan Bartell, a nationally recognized child and parenting psychologist, writes: “. . . grandparents have a unique opportunity to approach the topic of drugs and alcohol . . . in a way that is unlike parents who are the enforcers of discipline.”

The Partnership for Drug Free Kids published a piece entitled The Power of Grandparents: Grandparents Play an Important Role in Preventing their Grandchildren from Drinking and Using Drugs, which stressed the importance of grandparents’ participation in the lives of their grandchildren. “The same kid who cons his parents is ashamed to lie to Grandma or Grandpa. Without betraying their trust, a loving, understanding, grandparent can discuss the danger of drugs and alcohol openly with the child he or she adores. And should.”

The article also quotes this excerpt from a print ad from the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, Inc. “As a grandparent, you hold a special place in the hearts and minds of your grandchildren. Share your knowledge, your love, your faith in them. Use your power as an influencer to steer your grandchildren away from drugs and alcohol.”

For more information, tips, and resources, check out the full article at

*Article written by Partners for Prevention member Beth Diamond, Regional Resource Specialist of United Ways of Vermont / Vermont 2-1-1.

The Partners for Prevention is a community network dedicated to sustainable substance abuse prevention efforts for Rutland County youth and young adults. Stay connected by liking the Partners for Prevention on Facebook:

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