Grandmother wants to round off square-peg granddaughter
BY AMY DICKINSON
Monday, December 17, 2012
1/08/13 at 8:23 AM
Dear Amy: I feel helpless about what to do regarding my 10-year-old granddaughter's situation. She is obese and dresses poorly in T-shirts.
She does not fit in, according to school personnel, and is not liked by the fellow students, even though she excels in academics. Her parents have been made aware of the problem and have been advised to help her lose weight and dress better, but they get defensive when this situation is brought to their attention.
They are loving, caring and supportive parents to their child. I do not dare broach the subject because I know they will be angry with me.
Must I and the rest of the family stand aside and watch, understanding that one must have the courage to accept what cannot be changed? Help me. What is my role? - Granny's Conundrum
Dear Granny: Your role is to be your granddaughter's tenderhearted buddy and champion. You should not take it upon yourself to "improve" her. I assure you, even at the age of 10, the world is already telling her all that's "wrong" with her.
Can you love her abundantly exactly as she is? Can you celebrate her brains and her talent and overlook the extra pounds and sloppy T-shirts? Engage her on her level - talking about science or books or pop music - and try to see her as the perfect work in progress that she is.
By all means assist these parents with ideas and advice if they ask.
If your granddaughter wants to dress differently, you could help her find clothes that she thinks she looks awesome in. But for this child, her relationship with you should be a refuge, not more of the same.
My point of view comes from experience. I had one grandmother who hung a virtual "needs improvement" sign on each of her grandchildren.
Dear Amy: I love your annual campaign to publicize "worst ever" gifts.
Mine was a taxidermied python given to me by my grad students. I still don't know what to think. My boss said, "They really don't like you!" - Michael
Dear Michael: A surprising number of "worst gifts" are taxidermied. But let us laugh and make merry about these and future worst gifts.
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