Shared lifetime of grandmothers and grandchildren significantly increased since 1800s

How involved is your mother in your baby’s life? A study from the University of Turku in Finland examined the demographics of children’s, mothers’, and grandmothers’ lives over the course of roughly 250 years. They noted the amount of grandchildren each grandmother had, whether they lived nearby geographically, and how many years they had together, among other things.

Surprisingly, both the age at which mothers had their first children and the age at which they became grandmothers remained relatively static from 1790-1959. The number of grandchildren also decreased dramatically, but the number of grandchildren born during their grandmother’s lifetime increased; so overall bonding time spent together increased as the centuries passed.

The researchers hope to take this data, which is specific to Finland, to help them understand the different effects that grandmothers are seen to have on their grandchildren in other societies around the world.

Key takeaways:

  • Finnish researchers are examining how much time grandmothers and grandchildren spent together by examining centuries-old church records.
  • The effects of grandmothers on their grandchildren are different from society to society, but by controlling for time spent together, researchers may be able to find more commonalities.

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