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Grandparents Can Sway Parents' Decision for More Kids

Grandparents Can Sway Parents’ Decision for More Kids

A new European study discovers grandparents play a significant role in both a parent’s decision to have additional children and the well-being of the grandchildren.

As discussed in his doctoral dissertation, Antti O. Tanskanen, Ph.D., determined grandparents’ assistance with child care and emotional support are linked to mothers’ willingness to have a second or a third child.

Tanskanen also found that when parents of small children receive support from paternal grandparents, they were more like to have additional children.

Another finding suggested participation by maternal grandparents in the lives of their grandchildren led to few emotional and behavioral problems.

However, in some instances grandparent involvement was not beneficial.

Researchers determined that when grandparents were the primary source of child care for children between the ages of nine months and three years, the child was more likely to be overweight than children who primary source of child care is their own parent.

This indicates that grandparents’ tendencies to invest in their grandchildren can also result in unintentional, negative consequences.

The study included the review of extensive surveys from eight European countries: France, Norway, Bulgaria, Lithuania, England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Tanskanen believes the study shows that at least in Europe, grandparents continue to be an integral part of the family. However, policymakers often fail to acknowledge the significant role of grandparents on family dynamics.

Tanskanen hopes the study will result in new family policies that recognize the role of grandparents.

Source: University of Eastern Finland

Grandmother helping with children photo by shutterstock.

Grandparents Can Sway Parents’ Decision for More Kids

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2018). Grandparents Can Sway Parents’ Decision for More Kids. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 19, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Aug 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Aug 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.