Dear Grandparenting: Tempus fugit, as they say at Vatican City in Rome, the last place where Latin is spoken conversationally. Yes, time flies, and as 2019 departs and 2020 arrives, we take our annual look at the year that was:
Best news for grandchildren: The old adage to keep kids in line—better behave since Santa knows who’s been naughty or nice—seldom means fewer presents. Grandparents are suckers for delivering on holidays, even when kids misbehave.
Worst social trend: Those thinking of childbearing increasingly regard marriage as just another option, a lack of commitment that threatens family life as we know it. Grandchildren on one end and grandparents on the other can only hope the center holds.
Best news worth repeating: Grandchildren who spend quality time with grandparents have better social skills and fewer behavioral problems according to the American Psychological Association. Another study found that time spent together reduced depression in grandparents and grandchildren alike.
Best travel trend: Grandparents cite living so far apart as the biggest reason they don’t see their grandchildren. To bridge the distance, more are vacationing with youngsters and leaving their parents at home—so-called “skip gen” travel.
Best research: U.S. and British researchers say seniors generally become happier after middle age, contradicting previous studies. The low point in the U.S. is age 44 overall, although many men don’t perk up until their early 50s.
Best news during long winter nights: With the winter solstice behind us, we’ll all enjoy more sunlight each day.
Best believers: The great majority of young grandchildren still believe Santa is coming to their town, according to those who study such things.
Worst role model: Always a tough call, given the excess of deserving candidates. Give grandchildren the gift of a strong moral compass.
Best technology news: Hardly a week goes by without another warning about the risks the Internet and social media pose for young users. But grandparents who get online often reduce isolation and depressive symptoms. If that’s not reason enough, there’s no better way to stay in touch with grandchildren. Video chats are like being there.
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.