Is violence among children escalating or are we reporting it faster and louder? Whose fault is it anyway? Is it parents who don't care, children who won't listen, media that won't quit, too much money and too little supervision - or is it something born in a child, something so dark and evil we dare not speak its name?
Do parents today get respect, dignity and honor? That's the problem facing the writer of this letter:
Dear Lois: Although we're in a new house with dishes still unpacked, I sent written invitations to my grown children to come for Mother's Day. So what happened? After some disagreement (was it about a potted plant?) with my daughter - but no words really - everyone asked where she was.
We realized she and her 10-year-old daughter had left without saying goodbye to anyone. My son's daughter, age 16, is a self-centered, church-going child who shows no respect or manners. She walks past me and my husband as if she never saw us, never says hello and, upon leaving, never says goodbye. Then she brushes her long hair in the living room and walks around barefoot (dirty, bare feet).
Her mother won't even sign a Mother's Day card; she has her husband (my son) do it with just his name. We give gifts and send cards to our four children (all in their early 40s) and eight grandchildren. No one ever calls to ask how we are. I raised my children closely with their grandparents, and they were raised with family values. We extend ourselves to all of them equally. So why am I writing to you? I don't know. I guess I'm looking for suggestions.
- Broken-Hearted Mother and Grandmother
Dear Broken: Well, when things are broken, they need to be fixed. Sounds as if the relationships in your family could use a heap of fixing.
I'd suggest that you make a list of what you expect from each child. Then I suggest that you and your husband see each of your children individually and tell what you expect in the way of respect and affection at this time in your life. There may be reasons they are not living up to your expectations, and one reason may be that they don't realize you have hopes of how things could and should be. But you have to remember to listen when your children talk.
Next I'd suggest that you try to see each of your grandchildren alone (sounds as if they live close to you). Grandparents can never know their grandchildren when they see them only in groups. It takes some one-on-one time together - cook, go shopping, go to a movie, play cards. Once you know your grandchildren, you can make suggestions about their behavior, but it's tough to do when you see them only in that eight-pack!
Communication and resolution will take time and effort, but I promise you, Grandma, it's all worth it. Best of luck.
Dear Lois: I was told that there is a "Lois" club. If it is true, please send me information on joining. Thanks!
- Lois Villemaire, Annapolis, Md.
Dear Lois: I think there are scores of "Lois" clubs around the United States. It seems to be a name given to girls most frequently before World War II. If any readers who belong to "Lois" clubs are seeking new members, send me info, and I'll forward it to Ms. Villemaire, just one Lois to another.