Dear Grandparenting: My eight-year-old one and only grandchild Eric spends most of his free time alone. He is not so big on Internet stuff and video games as much as he enjoys reading and puttering about. So if he’s not in school or playing soccer or chess, Eric is by himself.
He says he likes it that way and I believe him. The good thing is that Eric is comfortable in his own skin. What worries me is that this flying solo stuff is not what others do that age.
It’s only natural for kids to hang around together, like my sister’s grandsons do and my brothers did. I’ve asked Eric if he ever gets lonely, to which he replies that being alone is not the same thing as lonely.
That may be well and true but it’s not normal in my book. What are the odds my grandson grows up to become a total social misfit like my uncle? That’s the last thing I need. Have Mercy, Sidney, Ohio
Dear Mercy: We hardly go a week without another report sailing onto our radar about how technology captures young users, binding kids to their gizmos that risk becoming loners with poor social skills.
But that doesn’t seem to be your grandson’s problem, nor do we see other reason for concern here. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
To our way of thinking, Eric’s independence forecasts a better future than children content to follow the crowd, or idle away the hours on popular social media platforms.
Your grandson makes time for friends during school and sports and then makes time for himself, a balanced life that develops inner and outer skills.
Don’t sell short the benefits of time alone. Setting aside the hours to pursue one’s interests is the way of happier self-reliant individuals. And being comfortable in his skin is a byproduct of higher levels of confidence and self-esteem. What’s not to like about that?
Grand remark of the week
Jen Arick from Leesburg, Florida reports that she was “never prouder” of how husband Harry handled a friend who was endlessly running down his grandchildren.
“I’m bored with that,” Harry snapped. “I make it a point to remember my grandchildren’s accomplishments and forget their mistakes. Just when did you become perfect?”
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.