Grandparent and grandchild relationships

Why is it important to have a relationship with your grandchildren as a grandparent?

The Search Institute has done extensive research around the Developmental Assets. The 40 assets are common sense, positive experiences and qualities that help influence choices young people make and help them become caring, responsible, successful adults. Because of its foundation in youth development, resiliency and prevention research and its proven effectiveness, the Developmental Assets framework has become one of the most widely used approach to positive youth development in the United States. Search Institute research has found that these assets are powerful influences on adolescent behavior—both protecting young people from many different risky behaviors, and promoting positive attitudes and actions.

Our family’s shape who we are. A strong, healthy, caring family can make a difference in our lives. When we don’t have a family like that, it’s harder to thrive in life and to overcome the challenges that we face. Many of the assets revolve around adult role models. That could be a parent but it could also be the other caring adults in a child’s life. One of those other caring adults is the grandparent. A grandparent can play a significant role in shaping a child’s future by the role modeling that goes on through a child’s life by watching and interacting with their grandparent. Too much of the conversation about families is about what’s wrong, when they fail, their vulnerabilities and stresses or whether certain types of families are better than others. The result is that families are rarely celebrated for the strengths they offer both family members and society at large.

Family assets are the everyday things families do to be strong, even in challenging times. They are the actions we take to build healthy relationships and healthy family members. Everyone in the family plays a role in building these assets, not only the parent but also the grandparents. Here is a link to a worksheet with ideas for all family members to help to contribute to the asset building of our children in our families. Michigan State University’s authored Building Strong Adolescent class is offered throughout the state.

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