Chicago, IL

#1 Feb 23, 2013
DEAR ABBY: I'm a 15-year-old student who reads your column every day, and I hope you can help me.

I want to be closer to my parents. They yell at my siblings and me and call us names. It hurts me very much. If we make a mistake -- even a little one -- or forget our chores, we can expect to be insulted, yelled at, etc. I have learned to tune them out, but I don't understand how such intelligent people like my parents can act this way.

Years ago, I decided to talk to them about it, but that was seen as an act of defiance. My parents, especially my father, can't take constructive criticism and respond with more yelling.

Each of our arguments leaves me upset for days. But I still believe I need to do something. I want to be close to them before it's too late, but I have lost so much respect and trust for them, and they probably feel the same.

Please, Abby, I don't know what to do. I would greatly appreciate your advice, although I know you are very busy. Thank you for taking the time to read my letter.-- HOPEFUL IN NEW YORK

DEAR HOPEFUL: You have my sympathy. Harsh words can leave wounds that last longer than physical bruises. Some parents develop hair-trigger tempers when they are under financial pressure. Others, without realizing it, model their behavior on the way their parents raised them and overreact when their children make mistakes.

Because you haven't been able to get through to your father, talk to a trusted adult relative about the fact that you would like to be closer to your parents but don't know how. If they hear it from another adult, they might be more open to the message.

DEAR ABBY: I am a 26-year-old mother of a 13-month-old daughter, "Lissa." I am a "by-the-book" mom. I'm still breastfeeding and I am strict about what I allow my daughter to eat. She has just barely started to eat table food.

I don't want my child to have bad eating habits, so I try to give her only healthy items at dinnertime. Her dad, on the other hand, thinks it's funny to give her junk, including sugar. When she was only 2 months old, I caught him giving her licorice. The other day, it was soda and ice cream. I don't agree with this, and it's causing us a lot of fights.

When we sit down to dinner, I have Lissa's meal set aside. But before I can sit down, her dad starts giving her things off his plate and then she won't eat her dinner. I have told him I don't like it, but he doesn't understand that I want to teach her good eating habits.

Am I wrong in trying so hard? Or should I just give up and let her eat junk?-- TRYING MY BEST IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR TRYING: Parenting is supposed to be a team sport and I'm more concerned about the fact that Lissa's dad is undercutting you than what's going into her mouth right now. If he continues, in another year or two, your little girl will regard him as a pushover and you as a big meanie.

You may need an impartial mediator to get through to Lissa's father, and the perfect person to do that is your child's pediatrician. Let the doctor tell Daddy that the more she is given sweets, the more she'll crave them.

The only thing about your approach that might be of concern to me is your calling yourself a "by-the-book" mother. A conscientious parent not only goes by the book and is consistent, but she also uses her head and listens to her heart. I hope you will remember that.

“...,to wit”

Since: Jun 09

Location hidden

#2 Feb 23, 2013
constructive criticism . Boy is that a phrase that pushed my button. My mother used to justify any and all undercutting comments when I lived at home. She was just doing it for my own god, etc. Except here , it is the LW who uses the phrase. I can see why her father would react that way. Unless of course she is repeating a phrase that has been used at her.

LW2 sounds like a rigid pain in the a**. I feel for Lissa when she gets older. Psst- lady- good eating habits start when the kid thinks comfort food is what grown ups know as the good stuff. Plain cheerios in yogurt, defrosted frozen peas, unsweetened apple sauce with a little bit of cinnamon on top, warmed up a little bit, baked sweet potato mashed up.

Since: Jan 10

Location hidden

#3 Feb 23, 2013
table food at two months? Your babydaddy is a retarded idiot.

But you are ridiculous rigid and controlling.
deer abby

Tempe, AZ

#4 Feb 23, 2013
deer abigail


“Where is Everyone?”

Since: Jul 12

Location hidden

#5 Feb 23, 2013
L1: You need to learn that you talk to people about problems when things are calm. Try that. Also, try saying you understand they get upset when you do xy and z not that you are angry at what they do. You put them on the defensive. Whether or not you are doing that, I don't know. I'm thinking you're not picking the correct times to have chats.

L2: Hubby is an idiot and obviously doesn't care what you think. Once again, when you talk about things is key. When you're relaxing, bring up what and why certain things are important and open up a discussion. Don't get all rigid and try to come to a compromise. If you can't, counselling.

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