I know of a husband and wife who are nearly 80 years old. Instead of heading off to a retirement community, they are very busy raising the youngest child of their youngest daughter. It's a long, involved story that I won't get into. But they are finding that parenting, this time around, is much different than it used to be. The grandmother, in particular, is in contact with a lot of 30-something mothers, whom are a decade or two younger than her own children. She was caught off guard by the competitiveness among this pack of relatively affluent young mothers.
These women form little cliques that remind her of junior high school. From this inner circle, they direct all social activities among the neighborhood children. Gone are the days when you sent your children outside to play in the morning, and told them to come home for lunch. Since this particular grandmother doesn't want to play this game, and wouldn't be able to anyway, because of her age, her grandson is locked out of these organized events.
When my own children briefly attended a public elementary school, I also noticed that certain moms knew how to work the system. They would cozy up to some of the teachers, seize control of the PTO, and selectively choose their children's friends, deftly cutting children they didn't approve of out of the mix. Because of their totally hands on approach, their children didn't have a chance to form their own friendships, as I remember doing in elementary school.
This is an unhealthy dynamic for all involved. What type of values are these mothers teaching their children? It's getting harder and harder to avoid narcissistic and mean-spirited behavior that seeks to exclude, rather than include others.