Posted: Monday, June 30, 2008 8:42 pm
Dear Annie: My daughter, “Lara,” just finished her junior year in college. Since my divorce from her father 10 years ago, she has been steadily gaining weight.
The summer before college, Lara dropped some pounds and was determined not to gain them back. Her self-esteem went up and she was happy. But being in college for the past three years has made things worse.
Her weight has gone up, and I know her size bothers her because I’ve seen her cry about how miserable she is. Yet she doesn’t do anything. I am terribly concerned about her. In the past six months, she’s ballooned even more. She must weigh at least 250 pounds.
I’ve dealt with weight issues my entire life and my parents handled it by yelling at me. I will not do that to Lara. She has come to me in the past, and I’ve offered to do whatever I can to help, but I don’t know what that is. When she is away at school, I get limited amounts of time with her and don’t even know if it’s right to bring up the subject. Please help. — Worried Sick in the Midwest
Dear Worried Sick: Lara’s depression may be less a result of her weight than a contributing factor. Many kids who go away to college use food as comfort to compensate for loneliness, stressful classes, etc., and this is where you should focus your efforts. Suggest exercise as a way to boost her endorphins. If she’s home for the summer, you can join her at a gym or in biking around the neighborhood. You also can ask if she’d like an appointment to see someone about her depression. When she’s back at school, encourage her to take advantage of the college counseling services. Make this about her health and happiness and not about her size.
Dear Annie: I am a nonsmoker. My husband smokes, but never inside the house. Last summer, my husband’s brother and his wife came to visit for a few nights. They were told we don’t allow smoking in the house, but after they left, I found cigarette ashes on the floor of the guest room and burn marks on the dresser.
I was angry that they smoked in my home, but said nothing because I assumed they wouldn’t visit again soon since they live so far away. However, my brother-in-law recently told my husband that they plan to return in a few months.
How do I handle this situation? They obviously have no respect for me if they would sneak around smoking inside my house. Would it be rude to ask them to stay in a hotel? I am not comfortable having them again. — Burned Off in the West
Dear Burned: It’s not rude to say you are unable to accommodate someone in your home. However, we think you should give your relatives one more chance to be good guests. Your husband ought to speak to his brother and let him know about the evidence you discovered. He should make it clear that if they cannot be trusted to smoke outside, they must stay elsewhere.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Happy Father-to-Be in Sunny Florida.” Being the wife of a Jr., I beg the parents not to name the child after the father. It causes too many headaches. Our credit, insurance and many other things have been tangled up due to the fact that my husband has the identical legal name as his father. Worse, he goes by a nickname the family saddled him with as a child, which adds another layer of headaches. It’s much better to give a child his own unique name. — Wife of Junior
Dear Wife: Many readers pointed out that having the same legal name as a living relative can cause all kinds of problems for an adult child, and these things should be taken into consideration when naming a baby.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to email@example.com, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
Published in The Messenger 6.30.08