A Grandmother Might Be More Connected to Grandchildren Than Children, Study Finds

People often note that their own mothers like their kids more than they like them, and that seems to have been validated by a team of researchers who were looking into the matter. Apparently, a grandmother would naturally feel more empathy for her grandchildren than her own children.

Any Grandmother Is Naturally Compelled to Like Her Grandchildren

A grandmother with her grandchild
The fact that grandparents relish the opportunity to have extra-special relationships with their grandchildren is nothing surprising. According to the new study, a grandmother will naturally feel more connected with her grandchildren than with her own kids. To come to that conclusion, James Rilling, who led the study, recruited 50 women with at least one grandchild aged 3 to 12. The women were given photos of their grandchild, child, and something unrelated, and then the researchers used MRIs to scan their brains.

A Grandmother Would Feel More Emotional Empathy to Their Grandchildren

It turns out that when grandmothers viewed photos of their grandchildren, they activated brain regions that are associated with emotional empathy, showing that a grandmother may be predisposed to share her grandchildren’s emotional states. Meanwhile, photos of the women’s own children activated other areas of the brain that are linked to cognitive empathy, showing that there is more of a mental understanding of their child and less of an emotional one.

A grandmother with her daughter and grandchildRilling, who is a professor of anthropology, psychiatry, and behavioral sciences, has previously done a similar study asking fathers to look at photos of their kids. Apparently, grandmothers have more emotional empathy and motivation than fathers, although that is not true for every case.

While the new study has given scientists a good insight into human mentality and physiology, family relationships can differ drastically and depend on many factors, so every family has different grandparent-parent-grandchildren dynamics. Some studies even show how grandparents with outdated health guidance who participate actively in the raising of the child could be unknowingly harming their grandchildren. Still, having a grandparent who is involved in a child’s life is a blessing for most parents.