To examine the relationship between grandparenting styles and grandchildren’s emotions and behaviors, while controlling for parenting styles, and to compare the effects of grandparenting styles and parenting styles on children’s behavioral problems in China.
A sample of 765 children, with a mean age of 12.02 years (SD = 0.38), participated in this cross-sectional study in Jintan city, Jiangsu province, China. All participants completed the self-report measures of emotions and behaviors, grandparenting styles, and sociodemographic variables.
Results showed that the well-recognized parenting styles (Care, Indifference, Overprotection, and Autonomy), when implemented by grandparents (grandparenting styles) and parents (parenting styles), had different patterns of effects on children’s emotional and behavioral problems. Grandparenting styles, especially grandparental Care and Overprotection, were positively related to emotional and behavioral problems, while parental Care was negatively related to children’s externalizing behaviors.
These results highlight the importance of grandparenting styles in grandchildren’s development. Practitioners working with grandparents and grandchildren need to recognize the complexity of grandparent-grandchild relationships and implement suitable interventions to meet the family needs.