I know this sounds bad, but my daughter is 18 and is getting really fat. Over the holidays she ate everything in sight. I’m her dad, and a little overweight myself, but heck, I’m not looking to find a young male suitor. She gets mad and storms out if I say anything to her. What should I do?
— The fat family
Jacqueline says: Your daughter is at a sensitive age — the way she looks is very important to her. And I’m sure she is aware of her eating. Perhaps you should work another angle, like gently talking to her about what might be going on in her life that is causing her to dull her feelings with food. For you to tell her she’s fat is only adding salt to the wound. Also, inspire her to join the gym by you doing it first. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
Kerry says: I agree with Jackie. You already spoke to her about it, so there’s nothing more to say. What you should do is set the example, especially since you have a weight problem, too. Doing something about it for yourself will show her that you’re not a hypocrite and there are no double standards. More important, however, if she sees good results with you, this will encourage her to follow suit. Being a good role model is far more effective than badgering her to change.
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At a recent PTA meeting, our daughter’s teacher was speaking to all the parents in her classroom in an open discussion. It was very interesting and going very well until she said to one set of parents, “Well, at least your son and the rest of the class aren’t having the same problems as Lisa M ______,” who just happens to be OUR daughter. We were so embarrassed that we just walked out. Should we report her to the principal, or just let it go? — Humiliated
Jacqueline says: In most cases I would say talk to the teacher first and explain how you felt and give her a chance to explain. In this case, she was completely unprofessional and damaging. I would report the incident to the principal immediately.
Kerry says: I disagree with Jackie. The reason being, I find it even more disconcerting that your daughter is having problems to begin with! While the teacher was totally and completely out of line — and you should mention that you wished she had come to you first instead of announcing it — nonetheless, I think it’s much more important getting to the bottom of what’s going on with your daughter. I suggest that you leave communication wide open with this woman, as you will need to continue conversing with her until your daughter’s problems are resolved.
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Our 16-year-old son is an excellent athlete, and has played soccer on championship teams for the last two years, but his grades have paid a price for it. His father and I finally told him that he had to maintain A and B averages in all his subjects, or we were going to pull him off the soccer team. So when his report card came, he had some As and Bs, but he had two Cs and one D. We don’t want to go back on our word, but if we pull him off the team now, they probably won’t win the championship this year. We feel like we’re letting the whole team down! What should we do? — Wavering
Kerry says: You and your husband should sit down with your son and tell him your exact sentiments. Tell him you made a deal, he broke it, and work out with him a fair agreement between the three of you. Pulling him off the team isn’t going to motivate him to work any harder at school and will only leave resentment. If you act fair and reasonable and treat him like an adult, I believe he will not only appreciate you both, but will come up with a fair solution and will stick to it. Give him a chance.
Jacqueline says: I would agree that you should not go back on your word, however, this punishment will not only affect your son, but all those on the team who have worked hard all season to get this shot at the championship. Kerry is spot on; let your son decide on an appropriate punishment that you all agree upon. You will have done right by the team, without backing down on your threat of a consequence for his actions.
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My husband works full-time, and I’ve recently had to go back to work, as finances have become very strained. We have a 4-year-old daughter who is very shy and tiny for her age. We had to put her into a daycare program, and she is just terrified every day to go there! She starts to vomit usually just as we arrive, and the ladies who run it tell me that she usually vomits at least one more time in the morning, and won’t play with anyone. I know they are nice to her, as a neighbor’s child goes there, and he loves it. I have to keep working, so what am I to do? She is breaking my heart. — Broken
Kerry says: It might just be a matter of time that she needs in order to adjust to not having mommy around all day to care for her. I suggest you get her used to being around other people, by making play dates with other children or taking her to the park to play with the other kids. You can also opt to have a nanny care for her instead of placing her in daycare.
Jacqueline says: Take the plunge and bring her to another daycare center. She doesn’t like where she’s going now, and her reaction to it may have more to do with that particular program than just separation anxiety from her mother. You may just be pleasantly surprised when she actually can’t wait to go to daycare.