In 1937, the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry published a paper entitled “The grandmother: A problem in child rearing”, followed five years later by another called, “Grandma made Johnny delinquent”.
That these papers no longer describe any kind of social trend is a credit to the prevalent attitudes of the current older generation towards their grandchildren. Where once they may have been prone to being overly critical and strict, they are now more likely to be doting sources of love, good advice and the occasional sweetie.
Divorce, however, can sever this happy relationship between old and young, creating what one MP described as a “kind of living bereavement”. And so the UK and Scottish Governments are now considering calls to give grandparents legal rights of access.
Whether or not this actually happens, a divorced parent who wins custody should try to be open to the idea of their ex-partner’s parents remaining involved in their children’s lives. Because, for the most part, modern grandparents are a significant force for good in any child’s life.