Grandparents play a vital role in children’s development, providing emotional support, wisdom, cultural identity, and cherished family connections. Alexandra Mylonas explores the profound impact of strong grandparent-grandchild relationships, from fostering emotional regulation and mental health to transmitting values, life experiences, and heritage across generations.

My paternal grandfather, Theopistos Pantelidis, used to say: Του παιδιού μου το παιδί, δύο φορές παίδι μου: My child’s child is two times my child. Papoudes, aka Yiayia & Pappou, Grandparents, provide their engonia, grandchildren, with a safe and secure environment to learn and develop, as well as significant wisdom, life lessons, a sense of family, and most importantly, cultural identity.

By providing emotional support, papoudes help their engonia develop greater self-awareness, leading to better social and academic outcomes. Grandparents play a critical role in helping their grandchildren develop emotional regulation skills during challenging times. By modeling healthy emotional expression and providing guidance on coping with strong emotions, grandparents can help their grandchildren learn to manage their feelings healthily and constructively. Research has shown that children with close relationships with their grandparents tend to have better emotional regulation skills, which can lead to improved social and academic outcomes. Sustaining emotional support is a crucial way in which grandparents can positively impact the development of their grandchildren. By offering a listening ear, guidance, and a sense of safety and security, they help their grandchildren develop greater self-awareness, emotional regulation skills, and improved mental health outcomes.

In addition, studies have found that children who have a strong relationship with their grandparents are less likely to experience symptoms of depression and anxiety. Grandparents can help their grandchildren develop a sense of belonging and connectedness to ensure that customs, family values, and cultural heritage are preserved. They serve as a living link to the past and connect our children to their family roots.

Grandparents can serve as role models, confidants, and friends, providing a source of love and support to help their grandchildren navigate the ups and downs of life with greater ease and confidence. They have lived through a great deal of history and have accumulated a lifetime of knowledge and wisdom. By sharing their experiences and insights with their grandchildren, they can help their grandchildren develop a greater sense of perspective and a deeper understanding of the world around them.

Another way grandparents can offer life experiences is by exposing their grandchildren to new and different experiences. Grandparents can take their grandchildren on trips, introduce them to new hobbies or interests, or spend time together doing things they both enjoy. By exposing their grandchildren to new experiences, grandparents can help broaden their grandchildren’s horizons and help them develop a greater sense of curiosity and adventure. They serve as powerful role models for their grandchildren in various ways.

By modeling positive values and behaviors and providing a sense of family and cultural identity, grandparents can help their grandchildren develop into confident, well-adjusted adults.

Stavros & Elisabeth Pantelidis, Georgios & Maria Ververis, Antonios & Georgia Mylonas, thank you for being the source of heartwarming memories that will be forever treasured.