Everyone knows that a divorce is hard on the couple and the children, but the grandparents are often overlooked. Few people pay attention to the fact that custody battles can take your grandchildren away from you just as much as they take them away from your son or daughter.
Fortunately, Ohio law supports your desire to spend time with your grandchildren. This is important because you love them deeply and because research has shown that the time you spend with your grandchildren can help them in at least five very important ways.
1 - Grandparents raise happier adults.
It's true. Boston College researchers found that close ties between grandparents and grandchildren correlated with reduced depression on both sides.
2 - Grandparents help kids learn to cope with trauma.
The ties that grandparents form with their grandchildren do more than merely reduce depression. A University of Oxford study of more than 1,500 kids found that grandparents promote greater mental health and resilience.
3 - Time with grandma can make kids smarter.
It's official: Grandmothers help their grandkids get the smarts they need to survive! Researchers from the Institute of Evolutionary Sciences of Montpellier tested three different hypotheses about the evolutionary purpose of post-menopausal life. Their results supported the idea that grandmothers give their grandchildren real benefits in the terms of the wisdom and skills they can pass on.
4 - Grandparents help shape identities.
Grandparents are also critical in helping children develop "intergenerational identities." The idea is that if you know who your family is and where you came from, it helps stabilize you. Children with a strong sense of their roots understand their lives as connected to and part of a larger story, and that contributes to the mental health and well-being noted in other studies.
5 - Close relationships with grandparents help combat ageism.
A study from the University of Liege found that children aged 7 to 16 who enjoyed good quality time with their grandparents were much less likely to hold prejudices against older adults. And the World Health Organization claims that older adults without ageist views may live longer, healthier lives.
Know your rights
Even though an increasing body of evidence shows the benefits of your time with your grandchildren, grandparents typically don't factor into the court's immediate custody concerns.
But you still have rights. Ohio law recognizes grandparents' companionship time, and if you have had your time with your grandchildren taken away from you, a family law attorney may help you reestablish contact.