Life Advice



Grandparental Guidance

Annie Lane on

Dear Annie: I'm 72, and my husband is 80 years old. We have our own home, three acres, and we attend most of our grandkids' plays, contests, games and practices.

Today's parents go overboard when it comes to sports and extracurricular activities. They are unable to find time outside of school to be kids. Parents refuse to cook the family a nutritious meal because it's easier to feed everyone unhealthy takeout.

We've made comments about how we are running everywhere with all the activities for our grandchildren, including running them to practices on days when they don't have games, swim lessons, tennis, taking their dogs for walks, etc.

We finally drew a line. We cannot afford to stay in hotels to watch our granddaughter play softball in another state. She's only 12! Clubs are addicting to parents, and they convince the kids they are joining.

How dare they say to us, "We're millennials and that's what we do. You're retired, so what do you have to do?" Really! Well, we raised our children with a sense of balance. We ate a MEAL at the table at 6 p.m. -- no takeout! We allowed only ONE sport and ONE in-school activity at a time. Weekends were for family -- not traveling to a match. We took care of our family instead of gaslighting why we couldn't. We offered to help them instead of them helping us. We had BALANCE in our lives.

Millennials -- you can't hold a candle to us. We've earned this time to relax, and guilting us is unacceptable and shows your lack of character. We were lucky to make it through numerous rounds of Covid that we caught from sitting at basketball games. Yet we still cut tree limbs down, carry bags of salt to the softener, we hoe the garden by hand because the tiller tossed us around like puppets on a string. Asking for help is like talking to a rock. We're tired and sore. We are exhausted. Sitting and relaxing is welcomed. But many evenings we're walking in the house at 9 p.m. after a match, and we wonder how much stress these millennial parents are putting on these children?

If being rude and complacent to others' needs is what a millennial is, you failed Humanity 101 and excelled at Gaslighting 400!

Please note, many folks we know 60 and up are as confused as we are. A few have moved away as an excuse to not feel guilted into being Millennial Grandparents.


We love family, but we'd love it more if they truly understood what family meant versus being the family coach and manager. Am I wrong for not wanting to attend my grandchildren's games? -- Retired and Busy

Dear Retired and Busy: You are correct that today's youth is overscheduled and overprogrammed by helicopter parenting. In fact, there is evidence that children actually need to be bored a little to become more creative and explore life.

Being bored can strengthen kids' and adults' creative muscles and imaginations. There is nothing wrong with your grandchildren having activities so long as they take the time to recharge their brains. One of the best ways to do that is by being bored. When they are bored, encourage your kids to go on a nature walk or even just to take a long shower. Anywhere where they can find peace.

You sound resentful at going to attend your grandchildren's games. If you don't want to go, then don't go, but know that you will be missing out on something they enjoy. Try not to be so harsh and judgmental on your "millennial" children. They are doing the best they can. It is a different time than when you were raising your children. Sports are better than just sitting around and playing video games all day. Try to look at the good parts of their parenting. Seeing the glass as half full will lead you to more joy and satisfaction in life.


"How Can I Forgive My Cheating Partner?" is out now! Annie Lane's second anthology -- featuring favorite columns on marriage, infidelity, communication and reconciliation -- is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to




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