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Thread: Maternal Grandparents Are More Involved In The Lives Of Their Grandchildren

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    Maternal Grandparents Are More Involved In The Lives Of Their Grandchildren

    ScienceDaily (Dec. 19, 2007) — As families gather round for the winter holidays, some faces may be more familiar than others.

    A recent study shows that the amount of social interaction between extended family members depends on whether people are related through their mother or father.

    Thomas Pollet and colleagues at Newcastle University and the University of Antwerp, Belgium, investigated how far maternal grandparents and paternal grandparents will go to maintain face-to-face contact with their grandchildren. They found that maternal grandparents were willing to travel further in order to sustain frequent (daily or a few times a week) contact with their grandchildren than paternal grandparents.

    Mr Pollet says, "As the festive period approaches, we can still see that family get-togethers are integral to the celebrations. Many people will be going the extra mile to ensure they meet up -- and we've found that's particularly important if family members are related through mothers."

    "Even in families where there has been divorce, we found consistent differences -- grandparents on your mother's side make the extra effort. We believe there are psychological mechanisms at play because throughout history, women are always related by maternity whereas men can never be wholly certain they are the biological father to their children."

    Click here for more

    So would you say this is true? Are you closer to your grandparents on your mother's or father's side?

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    Being closer to my paternal grandparents than to my maternal grandparents would be really creepy because they former are dead already.
    We live in the same house as my maternal grandparents so I have always had a closer relation to them.

    I do not think this phenomenon has much to do with the relation between grandparents and grandchildren but between parents and children. Girls are still seen as weak and something needing protection so parents usually have strong instinct to protect their daughter, even after she has become adult already. Their grand children belong to the innocent and helpless mother so they are also more important than those of a possible son who is usually seen as more independent and strong.
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    Complete opposite. But my mother actually hates her mother. She pretends not to so she can get an inheritance. Sometimes I just want to call my gran and tell her, but it would just be sticking my nose in where it doesn't belong even if it would end the socially agonising charade.
    My dad's family I like and his Mother when she was alive and before she went senile was a very fun person who told me long winding stories and so on.
    All my mum's mum ever does when we visit her is tell my mother off all the time for bringing us up wrong.
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    This is true for my family, but then again it's not very odd considering my parents separated when I was a toddler and I didn't really grow up around my father. My paternal grandmother was from Sweden and died from breast cancer when I was around 5 years old, so I don't remember much of her anyway, but she did take me back to Sweden with her before she died because I was her only grandchild she wanted me to see her homeland. I mean I don't even really remember it, but I do appreciate it. I think a lot depends on the grandparents too, and think it's unfortunate many do not even make the effort just because the parents are divorced.

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    I think that what mischak has posted above tells us about the evolutionary reasons for the maternal grandparents being more involved in the life of a child. When parents separate it is usually the mother who continues looking after the child. So it makes sense for the mother's parents to make more of an investment in a child who will always be a part of their family, rather than the father's parents in a child who may not always be around.

    If anyone understands what I just wrote, well done, it's quite late and I'm not too good at explaining stuff like this even when wide awake!

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    Not true in my case as all but my paternal grandmother predeceased by birth.

    In general this makes sense though, as I have observed that women tend to maintain a strong emotional link with their mothers as adults even after moving out on their own, whereas men generally have the urge to become independent. Women I think tend provide their mothers with much more information about their children, frequent and detailed updates, thus it would make sense to me that these parents would make more effort to visit their daughter/grandchildren.

    So the article's findings don't surprise me, but the rationale they place behind it I think ignores the behavior of the children (parents of the grandchildren) as a cause for this.
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    In my case, that wasn't true. My maternal grandfather died in WWII and my grandmother died a few years before I was born. My mother and I live more than 150 kilometres apart, and I prefer to keep it that way. I had some support when my kids were little, but for the most part I raised them alone. My kids see their paternal grandmother much more often, because she lives locally.

    Once upon a time, families lived near each other, so it was more commonplace for younger women who were mothers to be lent a hand from the maternal side of the family - especially in the country. Nowadays, people move away for better job opportunities, relocate to a different country, families break up etc. So the support isn't always there. I don't see too much of that support around me, but it may still play out that way in country towns.
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    Interesting. But I doubt it's true. Things like this are hard to prove. Maybe their sample size was too small. Scientists are among the best liars in the world.

    How do I know? My dad is one and he said Scientists aren't always honest about Research.

    My Paternal Grandfather wasn't really involved in my life cause he was Doochebag/Alcholic/Womanizer. I was very close to my Paternal grandmother. As for my Maternal Grandparents they died when I was very young so I can't say what would have happened.

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    Another false Theory, but i think everyone is already used to them.
    I'm more close to my paternal Grandparents, because they live in the same house as my Parents. So i think this scientific study should be based on where the Children grows up, or who visits the Grandchildren more.
    That Theory and Result is just random.




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    Quote Originally Posted by Boche View Post
    Another false Theory, but i think everyone is already used to them.
    I'm more close to my paternal Grandparents, because they live in the same house as my Parents. So i think this scientific study should be based on where the Children grows up, or who visits the Grandchildren more.
    That Theory and Result is just random.
    To a large extent, I agree with you.

    I won't go as far as to call this another example of junk science, but I suspect that there are some problems regarding the experimental design of this study. I also find some of the assumptions questionable. Is it right to assume that there is necessarily a direct correlation between how often grandparents make contact and their influence on grandchildren (which is one of the implications here)? Also, I seriously doubt that my paternal grandparents spent any more time than my maternal grandparents wondering whether I, my siblings, or any of my cousins were related to them. I wonder: did they question both sets of grandparents on this point? This seems to be an unverifiable assumption.

    The authors of this study connect their research to the evolutionary history of the family. At most, I would say that this study is relevant to families in some cultures (historical or modern), but is of no value to other cultures.

    From a purely anecdotal perspective, my wife's parents may be more of an influence in my children's lives, but that is because they live much closer, while my parents live over 600 miles away. On the other hand, during my childhood, the reverse was true. My paternal relatives, including my father's parents, were much more involved in my life.

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