Grandparents are taking the lead in teaching grandchildren a host of traditional values and are frequently acting as their confidants according to a new study commissioned to mark the launch of BeGrand.net, an important new online resource for grandparents providing information, advice and support to help them with every challenge they may face.
The study reveals that over half of adults in the UK (55%) say they have learnt respect and manners from their grandparents, and almost as many say they showed them the different between right and wrong (48%). The teaching of essential life skills continue with a quarter (24%) having been taught how to believe in themselves and almost a fifth (18%) shown how to cook by their grandmothers and grandfathers.
Furthermore, when it comes to the role the older generation play in their families' lives, almost a third of grandchildren (31%) say their grandparents are like 'second parents' to them, more than one in seven (15%) say they are like 'confidants', and one in ten (10%) described their role as a 'counsellor' in their times of need.
As the structure of the British family becomes increasingly diverse, there has been a growing reliance on grandparents to help support their grandchildren's upbringing, whether that's financially, emotionally or otherwise. As such, the issue of grandparenting is a hot topic for all of the political parties ahead of the forthcoming election.
BeGrand.net has been designed to raise awareness of the significant part grandparents play in their contribution to family life and addresses serious issues like legal rights, through to fun things like activities to do with grandchildren on holiday.
Jackie Highe, author and spokesperson for BeGrand.net, said: "It is so important that we appreciate how much our grandparents can add to our lives and our research really highlights just how integral they are to supporting the family unit and society as a whole. The launch of BeGrand.net provides a much needed 'destination website' where grandparents can go online and share issues from the more serious legal and social problems to the every day advice."
And it's not only the man on the street who recognises the significant part grandmothers and grandfathers play in their contribution to family life , with celebrities such as Davina McCall, Michael Palin and Esther Rantzen also revealing the impact their grandparents made on their lives to mark the new initiative.
Davina McCall, TV presenter: "I owe my grandparents so much. They brought me up from 3. They taught me manners and good old fashioned morals. They looked after my great grandmother and as a child l loved living with my great granny!!! They also taught me that family is everything and Sunday lunch together is the LAW!!! "
Michael Palin, comedian, actor, writer: "Grandparents are more than just a back-up team for weary parents. They can be an immensely valuable part of a child's life and learning. And since I've had two of my own, I've realised that grand-children can be an equally valuable part of a grandparent's life and learning. The two generations were made for each other."
Esther Rantzen, journalist and TV presenter: "There is huge value of an extended family, my Mother's mother loved the company of her grandchildren and we saw her every week. She taught us songs and poems, riddles and children's games that I have passed onto my own children. She was a formative influence on my life."
Bel Mooney, Daily Mail columnist: 'My grandparents' most important legacy is the belief that you always put your family first. They were ordinary Liverpool people with an extraordinary capacity for sacrifice, devotion, hard work, kindness, fun and tolerance – which are all essential ingredients of family life. As I get older I see them more clearly, and recognise how their influence turned my own parents into equally brilliant grandparents – and I just hope I am blessed with the chance to carry on the good work.'
Rt Hon Oliver Letwin MP, member of the Conservative Shadow Cabinet: "The most important thing I learned from my grandparents was that home-made biscuits are best."
Lord Chris Patten, Conservative Peer: "I only knew one of my grandparents; the others died before I was born. My surviving grandmother had a wonderful sense of humour, was constantly available to be teased and had a glass of Guinness at 11.00 every morning. I am not sure that this offers any lessons for life, although since she went on to a great age it presumably suggests, which we knew already, that Guinness is good for you."
The Sun's Dear Deidre (Sanders): "The best thing I learnt from my grandparents is the value of ages-old skills which connect back through the generations – sewing, darning (!), planting out, potting up, cooking from raw ingredients – and the joy of bread and dripping."
Mark Curry, former Blue Peter Presenter: "Grandma Curry had been a dancer as a young girl so never emerged without full make up, hair done and smart clothes. She knew I would become a performer and told me that however scruffy I was indoors, OUTDOORS was the stage and I should always look the part."
Richard Randall, 60 Minute Makeover presenter and home decor specialist: "I owe so much to my Grandma, and feel our closeness gave me so much strength. She was called Agnes and lived until she was 82. She was always dignified, sophisticated and glamorous, and had a wicked sense of humour! A lady who will always be my guiding light."
Highe concluded: "It's fantastic to see celebrities coming out in support of the grandparents' role and it demonstrates just how much of an impact they can have over their grandchildren's lives. We want BeGrand.net to give something back to the grandparenting community by giving them a voice to raise and share issues that are relevant to them."
To visit the website, go to www.begrand.net