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Connecting with grandkids

Dear Annie: It sounds like Shut-Out Grandma’s daughter-in-law has borderline personality disorder. One of your readers’ advice to read “Stop Walking on Eggshells” by Paul Mason and Randi Kreger was great. It was very helpful for me. — Another Grandma

Dear Another Grandma: Thank you for writing. As you will see in the next letter, yet another grandma has some wonderful suggestions.

Dear Annie: Here is a suggestion for the shut-out grandma. She can mail thoughtful gifts to her granddaughter periodically. I send a small present every two to three months to my granddaughter who is the same age. I just mailed a little pair of binoculars, a booklet about the different kinds of birds in her area, a bird-call gadget and a small wire cage with a bird seed duet cake.

Quality sketching, drawing and painting supplies from an art store; sewing materials; or fabric craft supplies — these all can be helpful gifts.

The point is to give some thoughtful consideration to the gifts, not just pick up a toy in giant department store.

That bypasses the negative situation entirely and turns it into a positive thing.

Her granddaughter might forget what her grandma says, but she will never forget what she does, especially the special care packages.

I’m a happier grandma now, and my granddaughter loves me. — Happier Grandma

Dear Happier Grandma: These are fantastic ideas for getting around an otherwise-sticky situation. Thanks for writing.

Dear Annie: During the COVID-19 pandemic, it has proven very difficult for my daughter, who is a freshman in college, to meet new friends. All of her classes are online; she lives at home; and most of her friends went out of state to college.

Our county has some of the strictest quarantine rules in the country, which limits her options. I’m worried about her mental health. This time in a young person’s life is very difficult in the best of circumstances.

Do you have any ideas for young people to connect with others during this unprecedented time? — Concerned Mom

Dear Concerned Mom: This is such a difficult time for all of us. I am sorry that your daughter had to start one of the most exciting times of her life virtually.

This is a time to think outside the box and be flexible with different and new ways to communicate with friends. She could schedule a call, Zoom, FaceTime or Houseparty with friends, especially those out of state.

Encourage her to go for an outdoor walk with friends who live in your county and are dealing with the same strict quarantine rules. I know it is not the same. Try and remember that this is a moment in time that will pass soon.

“Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now. Annie Lane’s debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Go to http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send questions for Annie Lane to dearannie@creators.com.

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