Dear Grandparenting: This what I get when I ask my daughter about my grandkids nearly every time: “I think they’re stressed.”
I take that with a grain of salt. It’s not like my granddaughters are in high stress situations. One is 10 and the other is 12.
At that age you’re not being treated like a child anymore, but no one expects much of you either. You’re off the hook.
What’s not to like about that? If my granddaughters think life is stressful now, I am afraid they’re in for one rude awakening. Betty Sue Rivers, Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Dear Betty Sue: It only seems reasonable to assume that parents and grandparents have more to worry about nowadays as their financial, family and health concerns pile up.
But according to multiple studies, grandchildren experience levels of stress and anxiety that rivals or surpasses older generations, and it’s still on the rise.
Adolescents and teenagers frequently experience a stormy passage into adulthood. But recent research shows that today’s batch is five-to-eight times more likely to report symptoms of depression and anxiety than youngsters who lived through the depths of America’s Great Depression of the 1930s.
Grandchildren of college age are not exempt either. A 2018 American College Health Association survey of more than 26,000 students found that between 40 to 60% reported significant bouts of anxiety or depression during the year — an increase of 10% since 2013.
Social media technologies that invite youthful users to judge and be judged are often cited a leading villain, joined by a range of other troubles that compete for grandchildren’s attention today — school shootings, bullying, global warming and environmental concerns, broken families, terrorists, grades and making it on their own in a hard world. How’s that for starters?
Many grandparents recall growing up back in the relatively carefree days of the 1950s and 60s. Most modern grandchildren will never have it so good. Life can get way too complicated, way too early.
Grand remark of the week
Timothy York from Reading, Pennsylvania weighed in to say he wishes “I had the energy of my grandchildren, if only for self defense.”
Dee and Tom, married more than 50 years, have eight grandchildren. Together with Key, they welcome questions, suggestions and Grand Remarks of the Week. Send to P.O. Box 27454, Towson, MD, 21285. Call 410-963-4426.