You’ve got to hand it to academics; they have a way of expressing the most basic concept in the most baroque way.
Take a recent study out of Brigham Young University. It looks at what happens when grandparents who don’t live with their grandkids are close to them, either emotionally or financially, or both. (In this study, the kids are between the ages of 10 and 14.) This closeness is called affectual solidarity. And, as we old farts could have predicted, the kids who are close to their grandparents are better off than the kids who are not. The lucky kids have what is called lower levels of emotional distress and higher levels of pro-social behavior: i.e. they are happier and they do better in school.
“This high quality emotional tie is an important microsystem influence.” Well, sure it is. By the way, this microsystem influence is important regardless of income, but seems to have more of an impact in single parent households. Uh huh. The beleaguered single parent is more likely to be stretched thin.
So here is yet another reason to keep your grandparent skills sharp and available when you are thinking about the good that you can do as you move towards, or settle firmly, into, your years of decline.
Of course, further study is needed.