How can I protect my boy from mom’s harsh judgment?


Dear Amy: I share custody of my 9 year old son with his mother.

Amy dickinson

The other day, when I was dropping him off, his mother told him he “had a stomach” because he ate too much junk food.

He was upset by her comment, which in my opinion was not only rude but unwarranted. He’s always been pretty skinny.

I’m all for pushing our son towards healthier food choices, but how can we prevent his mother from making critical comments to our son about his body?

In the past, she has made harsh comments to her 17-year-old daughter from a previous marriage, which has hurt not only their relationship, but her daughter’s self-esteem as well.

How can I protect my son from his mother’s sharp tongue?

Worried dad

Dear daddy: You are keen to realize how damaging this type of body assessment can be for your child. When parents do this, I always wonder how they would feel if someone in authority over them chose to criticize them in this way. Hope you find a way to explain your point of view to your ex.

However, you don’t want your son to feel bad about the parent he lives with half the time.

You need to make sure that he still feels comfortable sharing his feelings with you (young boys are often told to ‘hold back’ when they should be encouraged to ‘let him out’).

You can ask her, “How did you feel when mom told you that?” »Reassure him:« You know that you are 100% perfecto, exactly as you are, and you are growing tall and healthy like that tree over there…?

And follow up with a few sweet statements: “Sometimes mom says tough things – and I know it can be tough – but I don’t think she intends to hurt anyone. “

Dear Amy: My only granddaughter is 17. Her mother was my only daughter, but she passed away 15 years ago. We have lived 1,600 kilometers from each other for years now.

When she was about to be 12, my husband and I flew her home and she traveled with us for about three weeks.

We bonded well. I thought everything was fine when we dropped her off at home with her dad and stepmom.

Since then she has pretty much ignored us; she never answers her phone and rarely answers text messages.

I wrote letters, sent self-addressed stamped envelopes and paper, but only received one letter in return. We send birthday and Christmas cards (always with a check, which is always cashed), but no response, no thanks – nothing.

I think I will continue to send gifts but stop when she turns 18 next year.

I can continue to send cards, but I’m not sure if I should cut the line.

What do you think?

Distant grandmother

Dear distant: I am so sorry that you are not being granted the relationship you wish to have – and deserve to have – with your grandchild.

However, she was with you in person once in more recent memory. For most children, this is not enough.

Adolescents are animated by extremely complex emotions and interactions; they just don’t have the foresight or the hindsight to always do what’s right for them.

You have tried mightily to maintain and develop this connection, but her father and mother-in-law should be very active participants in order to promote such a distant relationship.

Pressure and supplication don’t work.

Keep in touch and, yes, send her gifts until she turns 18 and then cards and notes after that.

If possible, connect with her on social media to see what she’s up to, but don’t force her on any of these platforms either.

When she turns 18, send her pictures of her mother at that age. Share some memories of her mother that would make her smile. She (and you) lost her mother at a very young age, and you are the link to that part of her past.

Dear Amy: “Leigh” added to your advice to the “widower” about moving on and dating after a spouse dies. Leigh shared how her father’s choice to find another loving partner was a tribute to his love for his late mother.

His words moved my icy heart. What a beautiful soul!

I mean WOW! What an incredible way to look at a situation. She is so right! I wish we could all be more like her.


Dear Nathalie: “Leigh’s” parents taught her to love her well.

You can email Amy Dickinson at [email protected] or send a letter to Ask Amy, PO Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.

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