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Spoiled sa Lola: Science Proves Why Grandmothers Are Sweeter To Our Kids
  • Ever wondered why grandmothers seem to have a magic spell for our kids? Like when they instantly know what a cry of a newborn means. Or how they know exactly how to calm down your toddler’s tantrum?

    In a pioneering study on the relationship of a grandmother with her grandchildren, it has concluded that there is indeed a special connection between them. 

    Lola can feel what apo feels

    Emory University conducted a study among 50 participants where they completed questionnaires on their experiences as grandmothers, how much time they spend with their grandchildren, the activities they do together, and how much affection they feel for them. 

    They also measured brain function as grandmothers viewed pictures of their grandchild, an unknown child, the same-sex parent of the grandchild, and an unknown adult.

    “What jumps out in the data is the activation in areas of the brain associated with emotional empathy,” explained James Rilling, Emory University professor of anthropology, as well as the lead author of the study.



    Rilling adds, “That suggests that grandmothers are geared toward feeling what their grandchildren are feeling when they interact with them. 

    “If their grandchild is smiling, they’re feeling the child’s joy. And if their grandchild is crying, they’re feeling the child’s pain and distress.

    Lolas tend to empathize with their apos and feel what they feel. In turn, they instantly think of ways to make them feel better when they are sad and feel twice their happiness when kids are happy.

    Maybe that’s why lolas can’t say no to their apos!

    “Spoiled” sa Lola

    We’ve all been there—a visit to Lola’s house suddenly turns into a fiesta. All our favorite foods are cooked and served, a warm bowl of sinigang, the special pancit, steamy kare-kare with a secret recipe only Lola knows. 

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    Special dessert was made the day before—biko, ginataang bilo-bilo. And even if it isn’t our birthday, we’re going home with lots of new toys, new clothes that are two sizes bigger, and some twenty peso bills. 

    Of course when it’s actually our birthday or Christmas, there’s more!

    READ: Pampa-Good Vibes! This Collab Between An Apo And His Grandparents Will Make You Smile

    And now that we’re parents ourselves, the same “spoiling” still happens between our child and their lola. 

    Unlimited supply of clothes, slippers, toys, even without occasion. Random trips to their favorite fast food chain or treats.

    They may come in different names, Lola, Mama, Nana, Wowa, but they still have the same overflowing love to their apos. 

    Understanding kay anak, empathy kay apo

    As the study further explained, in contrast with grandmothers’ reaction to grandchildren, their reaction to their own kids is more related to cognitive empathy. 


    They tend to think and understand more what their own child thinks rather than feel. 

    Grandmother's response to her own child is understanding their thought process. You may hear them say, “Hayaan mo lang, bata pa kasi,” an attempt to help their child understand.
    In contrast, when her apo finds herself in a disciplinary moment, Lola can’t help but feel what apo feels even if her own child, the parent, is bent on the discipline.

    Less pressure, lots of love

    She’s been through parenting more than once, and with her grandchildren, the pressure from her first run is already gone. 

    "Many of them said how nice it is to not be under as much time and financial pressure as they were when raising their children," Rilling says. 

    READ: Gina Alajar and Gracia Lopez Are Lolas Who Understand Boundaries

    "They get to enjoy the experience of being a grandmother much more than they did being parents."


    That’s why sometimes, it appears that our own mother loves their grandkids more than us. The pressure of the first motherhood stint is gone, only love and warm hugs are left for being a grandmother. 

    Happiest babysitters

    Whether we are working or staying at home full time, there comes a time when we need someone to take care of our kids. Someone we can definitely trust, and the number one on the list is Lola

    One call away and you already have the happiest, most willing babysitter.

    Co-author of the study, Minwoo Lee, also stated, “Here, we’re highlighting the brain functions of grandmothers that may play an important role in our social lives and development.”

    The studies showed that it is etched in a grandmother’s nature to take care of grandkids and to take part in their growing up years. 

    READ: Naiintindihan ni Kris Aquino Kung Bakit Mas Pinipili Ni Josh Na Tumira Sa Tarlac


    Evidence that positively engaged grandmothers are associated with children having better outcomes on a range of measures, including academic, social, behavior, and physical health, is also accumulating.

    Honestly, we don’t need further studies to prove that lolas are the best, but it’s nice to know why they are the loveliest and sweetest to their apos. 

    Thank you, our dear Lolas, for your warm hugs and love!

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