How do grandparents affect family dynamics

Grandparent-grandchildren relationship

Grandparent-grandchildren relationship, is given little attention in terms of its meaning not only in everyday life, but also in scientific literature. For better or for worse, however, grandparents can play an important role. You can support your grandchildren's development decisively if you complement the parents in their upbringing and take on a complementary role to them. They can often provide the child with emotional support, security and refuge even if this is not possible for the parents due to external circumstances or if there is a violent conflict between the parents and the child. The grandchildren, for their part, can give the grandparents, i.e. often people in their last phase of life, additional meaning and content. The lively exchange of feelings and ideas with a grandson can help aging people rethink their own lives and come to terms with their own approaching death. On the other hand, grandchildren can also be a source of unrest or even hurt. Interpersonal experiences across the large age gap can make painful confrontation with and coping with guilt and undesirable developments necessary as well as awakening feelings of confirmation and gratitude. In our time, the emotional encounter between grandparents and grandchildren will rarely take the form of an amicable agreement, but rather a violent argument, an alternating distance and rapprochement, a lively, dynamic process (age problems, gerontological psychology, family).


Schwab, P. (1987). Grandparents and grandchildren. On the family dynamics of the generation relationship. Heidelberg: Asanger.