Q: My fifteen-year-old daughter is very overweight. I've tried everything I can do to make her lose weight--I've used shame, encouragement and downright bribery--but it does no good. I'm a single father (widowed) who feels he's done a pretty good job in general, but on this one issue only, I wish her mom and I hadn't split. Suggestions, please?
Anne: I sympathize with your dilemma. Here are a few things I might try: enlist the help of a lady friend whom your daughter knows and likes; if she likes cooking, introduce her to books like Cook Yourself Slim or Hasty Tasty Meals by our friend Cheryl Norman, and help her see that lower fat and calorie dishes can taste wonderful; set a good example yourself by not eating fatty and high calorie foods (make sure foods like that are out of the house); or spend father-daughter time doing something active together like taking a walk after dinner or team tennis or swimming. Make sure she knows that you think she's beautiful no matter how she looks but upon her impress your concern for her self-esteem and health. Good luck to both of you.
Dee: Anne gave all good suggestions. I know also there are weight-loss camps where she would receive counseling and learn better eating habits with other kids who have the same problem. If you have some extra cash, investigate a spa--same concept but with a more acceptable name for a teenage girl. Did you have a weight problem as a teen? If so, share your story. If you have a weight problem now, buck up and get with it so your daughter can see you mean "do what I do, not just what I say."
BYW, I liked the little back-handed slap you gave your ex: "… on this one issue only, I wish her mom and I hadn't split." Good one, Pop.
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