Dear Abby: Im a 15-year-old student who reads your column every day, and I hope you can help me.
By JEANNE PHILLIPS
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 dont 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, cant take constructive criticism and respond with more yelling.
I want to be close to them before its too late, but I have lost so much respect and trust for them, and they probably feel the same.
I would greatly appreciate your advice. 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 havent 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 dont know how. If they hear it from another adult, they might be more open to the message.
Feud over baby food
Dear Abby: I am a 26-year-old mother of a 13-month-old daughter, Lissa. She has just barely started to eat table food.
I try to give her only healthy items. Her dad, on the other hand, thinks its funny to give her junk, including sugar.
Her dad starts giving her things off his plate and then she wont eat her dinner. I have told him I dont like it, but he doesnt understand that I want to teach her good eating habits.
Am I wrong in trying so hard? Trying My Best in California
Dear Trying: Parenting is supposed to be a team sport, and Im more concerned about the fact that Lissas dad is undercutting you than whats going into her mouth. If he continues, your little girl will regard him as a pushover and you as a big meanie.
You may need an impartial mediator, and the perfect person to do that is your childs pediatrician. Let the doctor tell Daddy that the more she is given sweets, the more shell crave them.
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