Being a grandparent means a changed social role and status which brings new opportunities as well as fears and difficulties.
It provides the ability to maintain a very special grandparents-grandchildren bond. The person has the opportunity to keep in touch with the new generation but at the same time do not have full responsibility as a parent and is able to have his/her own life. The grandparents are an important source of child caring help, emotional support and love. Sometimes in situations where the children may not feel confident or secure to talk with parents, they talk with grandparents who do not have a parental authority but still are very close to the child. However, the existing age gap between grandchildren and grandparents may create some communication problems and difficulties trying to understand each others’ interests, values and life styles. The grandparents can also feel isolated and not useful enough in the family setting.
In 2013 the Maltese life expectancy for a man was 79.6 and for a woman 84 years. It means that the grandparents, now more than ever, have the time to interact with the family. This is the time when the person is in his retirement, can spend more time for the activities that he always wanted to do but have never had enough time for it. It is also the time when the person my feel isolated and alone, so he needs his family support and interaction more than ever. Although not all grandparents may have a good relationship with their children and grandchildren, the higher life expectancy gives the families a longer opportunity to find and maintain an effective and pleasurable way to communicate with each other.
– Gabija Kisieliūtė is a third year psychology at the University of Vytautas Magnus in Lithuania. She is following a Bachelors degree in Psychology. Her main interests are family psychology and aging. She is participating in a summer internship programme at Willingness.com.mt.