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Grandparents: Key to Fighting Ageism?


ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Studies have shown that ageism, or discrimination based on someone’s age, is alive and well in children. In fact, kids as young as age 3 hold negative stereotypes about older people. Now, researchers are finding that one important factor might help the young see the elderly in a different light.

Grandparents: They’re fun, loving, and they know how to spoil their grandkids! A new study shows that they may play another important role. Researchers from Belgium looked at 1,151 children and teens between ages 7 and 16. The researchers collected info about children’s relationships with their grandparents and asked their thoughts about the elderly.

The study found that 10-to-12-year-olds were the least likely group to have ageist views toward the elderly. Results also showed that youngsters who described their contact with grandparents as “good” or “very good” had more favorable feelings about older people. Researchers found that the quality of the relationship with the grandparents mattered more than how often they saw each other. The bottom line? If you want your kids to have a positive view of older people, helping them establish a relationship with their grandparents is a good first step.

Grandparents’ health was also another factor in how kids saw the elderly. Children who perceived that their grandparents were in poor health were more likely to hold ageist views than those with grandparents in better health.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Supervising Producer; Julie Marks, Producer; Milvionne Chery, News Producer; Roque Correa, Editor.

Produced by Child Trends News Service in partnership with Ivanhoe Broadcast News and funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation. 

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