Oct 25, 2019

How Important Is The Bond Between A Grandparent And A Grandchild?

Anyone who was lucky enough to have a close relationship with a grandparent understands just how important that bond is, but defining the role of a grandparent is actually quite difficult.

The wisdom that comes with age can liken them to a teacher, but it’s the unconditional love and willingness to sympathise with you in matters that involve your parents that actually makes a grandparent feel like your first best-friend. 

76-year-old Glenda Buckland shares a special bond with her 10-year-old granddaughter Lila, having spent two days a week looking after her from an early age while Lila’s mother worked and completed her PhD.

Glenda has been a long-time resident of the IRT Links Seaside Aged Care and Retirement Village in Wollongong, and Glenda, along with many other residents felt very fortunate to watch young Lila grow.

“When she was in preschool, she knew everyone here, and everyone knew her,” said Glenda.

“It was chat-time whenever we were around other residents and you could see by the reaction on people’s faces that they really wanted to chat with her. It was great for people here.”

Young Lila is now ten years old, and according to Glenda the connection between the pair has become even stronger as her granddaughter grows older and more inquisitive. 

“She is 10 now, and she wants to know what my favourite sport was when I was 10, she wants to know what my favorite sandwich was when I was 10 – this helps her learn but it helps me reconnect with my past,” said Glenda.

“Her thirst for knowledge helps me remember what it was like to look at the world through young eyes.”

The positive benefits stemming from relationships between the old and the young are becoming well known, and reactions to the heartwarming ABC program “Old People’s Home For 4-Year-Olds” highlight the need to encourage and facilitate situations that promote these bonds.

The last three decades of media absence and negative stereotyping has seen older generations become undervalued by modern society, but the tide seems to be turning, and Glenda was not short on answers about what the youth can learn from older people.

“History. Modern history. Learning about our life gives them information that they can use for their life,” said Glenda. 

 “We didn’t have iPhone’s and iPad’s growing up and television didn’t even exist when I was young. But learning about how we had fun without technology shows them other ways to have fun.”

Glenda was also quick to acknowledge the fact that her granddaughter and other youngsters like her also have a lot to teach people from older generations as well, highlighting the impact that these interactions can have on social isolation.

“It cuts down loneliness,” said Glenda. “I am a widow, and she was born just weeks after my late husband died.”

“I think it’s a two-way street – they learn about what life was like before their life started, and we learn about modern life from them.”

“They are great with technology. The other day I couldn’t do something on my phone, and she just grabbed the phone and did it for me. Everyone is learning.”

Glenda also has extremely fond memories of the bond that she shared with her own grandmothers, recounting the experiences that helped shape who she became and mirroring the positive experience that she and Lila currently share.

“One grandmother lived in the country and she used to put me on her shoulders and take me out to the shearing shed and she had a pet carpet snake,” said Glenda.

“She taught me how to milk cows.”

“My other grandmother lived in a coastal area and she took me dancing and showed me a whole different lifestyle. I adored both of them.”


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