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College-Age Girls Fighting Today

My granddaughters surprised me when they said they liked to get into fights and I didn’t know what to say ...

I had a wonderful time with two of my seven grandchildren—Mary, twenty and Kala, twenty-one—today when we visited our local mall, shopped, and had a bite to eat together. I’m always happy they enjoy my company and continue to want to be with me no matter what I ask them to do. I’ve noticed they’re changing how they feel about life, some of it being mature; however, there were two things I found disturbing and wonder if you notice the same with this age group of girls today.

Both my granddaughters think fighting is part of the scheme of things and one of the ways they correct problems with other people. Granted, I’m sixty-two and certainly out of their generation, but does this even make sense? Grown women getting into fights when things don’t go exactly the way they planned and often brawling in a public place was never considered other than white trash while I was growing up, and this left me thunderstruck.

I tried not to show my shock, panic, and anger as they spoke, as I have this rule where I never demonstrate if I’m feeling anxiety when they confide in me. If I’m quick to judge, I’ll never know what’s going on in their minds and then I can never give them any advice. In this case, I was dam well speechless and feeling even worse, as I didn’t even know where to begin responding, giving them an alternative to being physical when provoked by friends or strangers they are out with for the night. One of my granddaughters has always been the logical person, so when she said, “Gram, I don’t start fights. However, if necessary, I always jump in and finish them.” The other granddaughter seems to have an anger problem and she is the one I knew would fight if she had to; however, I never heard them state it’s just the way it is today. Is it true?

Where in the heck did all this violence come from in our children? Is it the desensitization they are constantly experiencing via television, computers, phones, photos, etc? Are they so accustomed to decking someone instead of talking things out or walking away that no matter what we say, it isn’t going to make a difference? I was flabbergasted and found myself heartbroken that I didn’t know what to say to make it better and I’m still thinking about what my response will be the next time we meet. I made one comment regarding the possibility of someone getting hurt and what about just talking and they instantly told me it’s not how it’s done today. Through the years, I’ve known all their friends, as they were cheerleaders in sports and always popular. Every girl I met seemed lovely, kind, and the type of person you’d trust with your life, so this was more then I was prepared for, as these are many of the friends they still socialize with. I wondered, do they fight with best friends? I couldn’t even ask. I needed to think first.

So I ask as a grandma who is perplexed and wondering—is this norm for young women today or are my granddaughters heading down the wrong path? Does anyone have thoughts as to how I might respond when we get together next week? Remember, they aren’t out there fighting every time they go out. However, I got the distinct impression it wasn’t unusual for a fight to ensue and the party might end with two girls battling it out if there was disagreement. I’m going to do some research on this and if you have any links or books you might be aware of, please make the suggestion in your comments.

The good news is my daughter and I have always had a great relationship with the girls and this casual conversation in my estimation was meant to be allowing me and my daughter to give them something to think about in the future, not telling them they are crazy, which will shut their thoughts down instead of keeping their minds open to the advice we offer as an alternative to violence. I’ve spent my life trying to be a positive influence on my children and grandchildren. It’s also one of the reason’s my partner and I created grammology.com. However, today I felt like a failure, as I had nothing to include to their conversation. Maybe you know something this old grandma doesn’t in this multifaceted world. I’d love to hear why girls are not embarrassed when they get into fights. I never would have told anyone if it ever happened to me (although it didn’t). Things are different and I’d like to say something the next time we meet, therefore any opinion you have will be greatly appreciated and considered when we talk again, and we will.

My best,
Dorothy from grammology

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