Friday, December 12, 2008

Is it true...

... that we are closer to our maternal grandparents than we are to our paternal grandparents? If so, why do you think that is?

11 comments:

I love Lucy said...

That seems to be the case in most households isn't it?! I really dont have an explanation possibly because I belong to the small percentage of folks who were/are closer to their paternal grandmom. Though our interactions were limited to once a year when we visited them in Kollegal, I still remember her as being extremely warm and loving.
I never ever got that vibe from my maternal grandmother though and that does hurt especially when I see her fawning over my cousins who are twin sisters!

choxbox said...

My paternal grandmom was my dad's step-mom. She never displayed any interest in us and so we didn't either. In fact we referred to her as X's daadi (X = first cousin who was my dad's step-sib's kid). Our parents trying to stop us from doing that but gave up after a point I guess.

choxbox said...

*tried*

Chi said...

It may be because the girls stay closer to their parents after marriage and sons, usually gets teared between wife and parents :D he he. I dont know!

In my case, we were very close to my paternal grandparents. Might be cause my dad was the only son. Strangely, we weren't really treated well/cared by our maternal grandparents, not because my mom was their step daughter or anything, the general attitude was bad. After my 10th standard, I went to live with them in my PUC (since our small town did not have any colleges) and I was treated no less than their servant :(

naperville mom said...

Maybe because our moms're the ones who weave great pictures of nostalgia and family...we kind of end up knowing our maternal side more hence, the followup...I wish I knew my paternal granparents as much...

Sujatha said...

Apparently this effect was noticed in a study of maternal and paternal grandparents.
The authors interpret their findings as support for psychological patterns resulting from our evolutionary history. Family members related through their mothers (matrilineal kin) are predicted to matter more than those related through their fathers (patrilineal kin). Throughout human evolution, women were always related by certain maternity, whereas men could never be wholly certain that they are the biological father. Also, maternal grandparents were always more certain than paternal grandparents that a grandchildren was related to them. Thus, maternal grandparents, especially maternal grandmothers, may go the extra mile to visit their grandchildren.

That being said, I wasn't fortunate enough to know my maternal grandparents for long. My maternal grandmother died when I was a month old, my maternal grandfather when I was 4, barely beginning to know and interact with him. My paternal grandmother, as the only living grandparent that I had for a long time, was not very interested in kids, so I was never close to her.

Sujatha said...

ILL (hi!), I'm so glad your had a good relationship with your dad's mom. I hope it made up, somewhat, for not having one with your mom's mom.

Chox, that is sad. I loved the story of your naani though. She sounds like a darling.

Chi, that may be! I'm so glad you had a good relationship with your dad's parents.

Naperville Mom, welcome! May be we mothers do tend to talk more about our families. But my dad also told us great stories about this family. I only wish I knew my dad's parents, even for a little while.

Sujatha, thanks for the link and for sharing your story. I'm sorry you missed out on the grandparent relationship.

The study sounds fascinating and at a very visceral level (which perhaps shows itself in our interactions with people) it seems plausible to look for certainty about relationships. I vaguely remember reading something along those lines in the Jewish culture (some naming convention following the maternal link because of the biological certainty). I'll try to see if I can dig it up.

iamyuva said...

is true...seems to be and global pattermn

Sujatha said...

Yuva, thanks for the link! The reasoning is the same as that in the article Sujatha pointed to. While the articles provide an explanation for why grandmothers feel closer to their daughters' children, there isn't an articulated reason for why we, as grandkids, might be closest to our maternal grandparents. Other than perhaps to infer that because maternal grandmothers "have more contact with, are closer to, and invest more heavily in their grandchildren" we might be drawn to them the most.

choxbox said...

My kids are extremely close to their paternal grandparents too.

So my theory is this - children simply reciprocate feelings, love (like my kids) or disinterest (like us).

Sujatha said...

Chox, that seems right. I've noticed the same with my kids. They are close to both sets of grandparents because they all try to nurture them.

ShareThis