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How Grandparents Can Help Their Grandkids Avoid Anxiety and Drug Abuse [The Research Shows it’s Simple and Powerful]

One of the last questions we ask in a Legacy Interview is, “what do you think the world will be like when your kids/grandkids are your age?”

Many people talk about their sense of dread that it will be much more difficult to grow up then when they were young. They are hopeful, but see how difficult things could be.

What the Research Says about the Value of Family Stories

Family stories are clearly a part of our culture.  We tell stories about the challenging times and the triumphs.  Telling these stories may be more valuable than you might suspect.  Dr. Marhall Duke, a professor of psychology at Emory University, says:

Our research shows that children who know a lot about their family tend to be more resilient: higher levels of self-esteem, more self-control, better family functioning, lower levels of anxiety, fewer behavioral problems, and better chances for good outcomes when faced with challenges.

How Could Family Stories Help So Much?

Of course if families are spending time together, then stories are being told. Part of the reason family stories help kids is because it indicates they are spending time with people that love and care for them.  

But even more than that, these stories help kids know how to respond to situations that are new to them. Dr. Duke continues: 

Family stories help children frame the question: “Do I come from the kind of family who would do X,Y or Z?”

The X, Y or Z can be good, like helping someone in need, or bad like using drugs. This context goes with the child even when the family is not there. So this is very powerful.

Telling More Family Stories is Key to Helping Future Generations 

The sad reality is that families don’t get to spend as much time together across generations as they used to. With cars, electronics, and a huge increase in organized non-family activities there are not as many stories being told.

But this doesn’t have to stop you from telling stories.  You can use the chances you do have to stimulate conversation.  When your grandchild misses a pitch, you can talk about how you struck out too. When they get into some mischief you can tell them about some of your escapades and describe how you realized that you needed to be more careful.

Let the Electronics Help You Relate More

Facetime and Zoom calls became for more accessible in the last few years. These technologies will help you join breakfast from 100s of miles away. You can give mom/dad a break by entertaining the grandkids, and use some of that time to tell them stories.

Legacy Interviews Can Help

There are a lot of reasons why you can’t transmit the most important stories. You may not think of them, or you may feel awkward bringing them up.  You can lean on Legacy Interviews to help you tell the kinds of stories that you will help your grandchildren avoid problems and choose the better path.


Your stories have the power to change the way an individual approaches life, how they deal with problems and what they value and keep sacred. Find ways to tell your stories so that future generations can use the wisdom you earned to make better decisions. 

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