Dear Abby: I’m a 13-year-old girl and I had a big argument with my mom. It’s about her drinking. I have tried to get her to stop because most of the money she makes goes straight to her alcohol, but instead of talking it out, she starts yelling. She says it’s her life and we can’t tell her what to do with her money.
I have five younger sisters and brothers, and I try to come up with the money myself from baby-sitting. I feel as if my younger siblings are my children. I am so fed up with my mother’s behavior. Should I keep talking to her about it or leave it be?
Can’t Do It All
Dear Can’t Do It All: As long as your mother continues to deny that she has a drinking problem, there is nothing you can do to help her without further putting her on the defensive. But you may be able to find support from Alateen.
Alateen is a group for teens that was established specially for young people who are affected by the drinking problem of someone close to them. You would also be welcome at a weekly Al-Anon meeting in Chalan Pago. For more information on Al-Anon and Alateen, visit www.al-anon.alateen.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 888-4AL-ANON.
At your tender age, you should not have to assume financial responsibility for your younger siblings. You should discuss this with your clergyperson, a teacher at school or another trusted adult because they may be able to get you some help from a social services organization.
Dear Abby: A relative of mine has a 5-year-old son who is at least 20 or 30 pounds overweight. Everyone in the family is concerned about it, but no one knows how to bring it up to the parents without offending them. We don’t understand how the parents or grandparents don’t see his weight as an issue.
Bullying is a huge deal among children, and we fear he might have trouble with other kids his age teasing him. However, we are more worried about his health than anything. Being that overweight is a lot for anyone, but especially a young child. What should we do?
Someone Who Cares
Dear Someone Who Cares: How do you know the child’s parents and grandparents don’t see his weight as an issue? A way to raise the subject would be to mention your concern and ask what the boy’s pediatrician has had to say about it. While years ago doctors may have been reluctant to raise the issue, today they are much less so because the American Medical Association has declared obesity to be a disease.
Also, as a relative, try to include the boy in physical activity you engage in.
Dear Abby: My 2-year-old granddaughter, Brayleigh, is friendly and outgoing. If you see us in the grocery store, she will probably smile at you and say, “Hi.” She would love it if you smiled back and said it too, but PLEASE, resist the urge to touch her.
Your kids or grandkids may giggle when you play “got your nose” or “tickle your belly” with them, but that’s because they know and trust you. You are a total stranger to Brayleigh, even if you know me. While you may mean well, imagine a total stranger rushing up and putting their hands all over you! Abby, how about passing along the message?
Dear Grandma: I’m glad to help. No one should touch a child without first asking permission from the adult who is accompanying the little boy or girl. Not only could the child be frightened by it, but the parent could misunderstand and it could lead to an altercation.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.