Dear Grandparenting: My kids never moved far away. After years of up-close observation, I eventually became a grandchild expert. One thing that strikes me is how many friends slip through their fingers, here today and gone tomorrow like they never mattered to begin with.
Relationships do matter. Relationships make the world go around. Friends are best of all. I think that I’m focusing on this because of how important friendship is at my age. It is so easy to become isolated. My doctor tells me that a few good friends are the best medicine against getting depressed.
Getting back to the grandkids: It is not my policy to offer advice unless asked, but my grandkids need lessons on how to exit friendships without blowing everything up. My grandsons get in fights and my granddaughters kill them with words. Why in the world are they so nasty? Becky, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Dear Becky: It’s a meaner world all around and our smaller circle of fast friends reflects that, according to numerous studies. As Americans turn inward toward family and intimate partners, their number of other close confidants continues to dwindle down at a rate called “alarming.” With all those hi-tech toys, why leave home?
Parents who reduce their level of social interaction can influence their children’s ideas about friendship. More likely, your grandchildren are just sorting their way through the social whirl of their school years, changing friends and tastes on the fly.
Just as men and women interact differently with their grown friends, so do boys and girls with their peer set. So gender has a lot to do with how friendships play out, and how they end.
Men are inclined to develop friendship through activities like organized sports. When boys play, it’s generally something rough and tumble with attempts to dominate — nothing that a fight won’t settle. Women are comfortable conversing directly without distractions, and girls are more cooperative and enabling of others. Due to this greater intimacy, girls’ friendships often reach their noisy conclusion when someone decides to spill confidential information.
GRAND REMARK OF THE WEEK
Gloria and Marty Jones of Lady Lake, Florida, were celebrating their granddaughter’s first birthday party with family.
“I just feel like grandchildren complete you,” said Marty, waxing philosophically to no one in particular.
“I’ll say,” piped up Gloria. “You’re a complete pushover for her.”
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.