Dear Grandparenting: My kids never moved far away. After years of up-close observation, I’m a grandchild expert. One thing I’ve seen is how many of my grandchildren’s friends seem to disappear, here one day and gone tomorrow like they never really mattered.
Except relationships really do matter. Friends make the world go around. It’s never been easier to become isolated with this pandemic going on. My doctor says that friends are the best medicine against getting depressed in these strange times.
That’s why I worry for my grandchildren. It’s not my policy to offer advice unless asked, but those kids seem in need of a lesson about exiting friendships without the drama. My grandsons get in fights while my granddaughters use words. What’s going on with them? Alison Jones, Asheville, North Carolina
Dear Alison: Grandchildren aren’t the only ones with personal relationship problems. After interviewing more than 2,000 adults in all 50 states, Pew Research concluded that “the role of friends in American social life is experiencing a pronounced decline.”
The study found people reported having fewer close friendships and fewer talks with friends, and rely less on friends for support. In 1990, 33% of respondents had 10 or more close friends, versus 13% today.
Some of the main reasons why apply to grandchildren — social isolation imposed by COVID, and hi-tech gizmos that Americans of all ages use to interact and entertain themselves from cozy home confines.
Gender has a lot do with friendships play out, and how they end. Boys are inclined to form activity-based friendships. Play is often rough and tumble, with attempts to dominate physically.
Girls are more cooperative and enabling, emotionally intimate and comfortable conversing. Friendships often reach a noisy conclusion when someone spills out confidential information. Seems boys and girls alike, as with older counterparts, are retreating into the family circle.
Grand remark of the week
“What a bargain my grandchildren are! I give them my loose change and they give me a million dollars worth of pleasure.” — Gene Perret, humorist