Ian Wilkins enjoys quality time with his grandson Josh White.
Ian Wilkins enjoys quality time with his grandson Josh White. John Gass

Study: Cherish your grandkids

TWEED grandparents have been reminded of the importance of maintaining healthy relationships with grandchildren after the release of a study conducted at the University of New England.

The research, which explores Attachment Theory and the Neuroscience of Human Relationships, has found that grandchildren who are denied access to their grandparents suffer detrimental effects which can harm their development.

Kingscliff resident Ian Wilkins, 83, is a grandfather to 11 and said that having the 'occasional chat' with his grandchildren will not only benefit them as individuals but the community in its entirety.

"It is extremely important to have solid relationships with your grandchildren," he said.

"They are the upcoming generation so I feel that it is my responsibility to hand down the values that were instilled in me when I was a boy.

"Even though my generation made some mistakes along the way, hopefully we can lead by example and see the next [generation] contribute to the community in a positive way."

The research is heralded by Professor Margaret Simms, from the University of New England, in conjunction with Dr Maged Rofail and Tony Townsend of the Queensland Council of Grandparents (QCOGS).

Mr Townsend said that early intervention was essential for all children denied a relationship with their grandparents.

"The research shows that for really early childhood intervention, that is, before school age, for every dollar spent, the payback to society is $17," he said.

"That payback comes in terms of reduced welfare costs, because the child is going to actually stay in school, get a better qualification, and get a better job."

The investigation was unveiled during NSW Seniors Week-the largest event for seniors in the Southern Hemisphere, and is being celebrated with great support in the Northern Rivers.

The week pays tribute to elderly residents in the region, and ends on Sunday, March 25.

For more information visit: the Seniors Week website.



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