Maternal grandparents spoil their grandchildren more, study findsMay 10, 2023
Maternal grandparents spoil their grandchildren more than paternal ones, study finds
- Second most invested grandparent was grandfather on their mother’s side
- Paternal grandmothers came in third and paternal grandfathers fourth
Many grandchildren given generous birthday presents and unfettered access to the biscuit tin may already suspect as much.
But now there is scientific evidence to suggest that maternal grandmothers really do fuss over their grandchildren the most.
A study of 1,400 children in England and Wales, aged 11 to 16, asked how often each grandparent saw them, looked after them, gave them financial assistance and could be depended upon.
The answers, when combined and analysed, suggest children get the most care from their grandmother on their mother’s side.
The second most invested grandparent appears to be the grandfather on their mother’s side.
(Stock Image) A study found that children get the most care from their grandmother on their mother’s side
Paternal grandmothers come in third – suggesting that a child can expect their mother’s mother to be significantly more involved in their life than their father’s mother – and paternal grandfathers fourth.
The perhaps controversial theory behind this is that we are hardwired to help bring up future generations. But the maternal grandmother is the only one who can be absolutely sure the grandchild is a relative – because she has given birth to her daughter, and her daughter has given birth to that child.
Our caveman brains may tell grandfathers, or the parents of the father, that they can never be quite sure the child is not the product of an affair.
(Stock Image) Researchers suggest that women are evolutionarily hardwired to care for children, and men are hardwired to have more children with different partners
Researchers also suggest women are evolutionarily hardwired to care for children, and men are hardwired to have more children with different partners, so the maternal grandparents will do more to help their daughter bring up grandchildren.
The results of the study, led by the University of Turku in Finland, are published in the journal Biology Letters.
The data analysed came from a survey of schoolchildren conducted in 2007, who each had at least one living grandparent, but did not live with their grandparents. Almost 1,200 out of the 1,430 had a living maternal grandmother.
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