A family that plays together really does stay together

February 15th, 2011 - 6:44 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Feb 15 (ANI): Most of us are familiar with an old adage ‘A family that plays together stays together’.

Now, a new study has confirmed this old maxim.

Researchers from Concordia University and Wilfrid Laurier University have identified that recreation emerged as the glue sealing bonds between grandparents and grandchildren.

“Leisure is vital in the formation of bonds that last from generation to generation,” said lead author Shannon Hebblethwaite, a professor in Concordia University’s Department of Applied Human Sciences.

“Shared leisure time allows grandchildren and their grandparents to establish common interests that, in turn, enable them to develop strong intergenerational relationships,” she said.

The study builds on previous research that found healthy intergenerational connections helped grandparents age better and feel more positively about life.

It is among the first to examine a cohort of grandchildren and their grandparents.

“Most studies look into parenting, children or seniors. Few have examined how leisure contributes to the bonds between adult grandchildren and grandparents in the same family,” said Hebblethwaite.

Sixteen retired or semi-retired grandparents, aged 65 to 89, and 14 grandchildren, aged 18 to 24, took part in the study.

The participants stressed how joint activities like vacations, holiday celebrations, cooking, shopping and gardening allowed them to learn from each other.

Grandparents often use such get-togethers as opportunities to teach, mentor and pass on legacies.

“They share family histories, personal experiences and life lessons. They pass on family values, traditions and stressed the importance of family cohesion,” said Hebblethwaite.

Exchanging ideas with youth can be a catalyst for discovery among seniors as well.

Forging strong ties with the matriarch or patriarch of a clan is beneficial for grandchildren, too, and can sharpen their sense of empathy, said Hebblethwaite.

“After being doted on as kids, adult grandchildren have an opportunity to shift that dynamic and give back to their grandparents,” she added.

The study is published in Family Relations: Interdisciplinary Journal of Applied Family Studies. (ANI)

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