Dear Abby: I am a teenage girl and my family is important to me. I really wish I could treat them better. My mom and I always fight. She says little things and I get mad at her. I feel bad for snapping at her and my sisters all the time because I really want them to know how much they mean to me. They are the best family you could ever get, and I just push them away.
Mom is going through a lot of health problems, and I know my being mean won't help her get better. Abby, help me, please. —TEENAGE GIRL IN OHIO
Dear Teenage Girl: The first thing you need to remember is that because your mother is experiencing health problems, she may not be at her best — which is why she says some of those "little things" that make you angry. Before you react and take them personally, you need to remind yourself that she may be having a bad day.
When you are upset and under stress, you should not take it out on your sisters. A better way to cope would be, rather than saying something hurtful, to leave the room or take a walk and organize your thoughts. You'll then be better able to communicate your feelings in a rational way and avoid a fight.
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Please try it. These are skills that take practice, but if you master them they will serve you for a lifetime. Now, go hug your mother, tell her you love her and apologize.
Dear Abby: I am extremely overweight (5-foot-6 and 331 pounds). I am 38 years old, and the weight is now catching up with me. It hurts to get up in the morning. My knees hurt walking up the stairs, and I can't bear to look at myself (to the point that I will not go out except to work). I have started to pull away from my family.
"Just lose the weight"? Easier said than done! I lost 110 pounds, then gained it back and more. I don't know who to turn to, but I know I need help. —TOO BIG TO ENJOY LIFE
Dear Too Big: I'm glad you wrote, because I'm going to recommend a multi-pronged approach. The first person to contact is your physician, and tell him or her that you are ready to take off the weight and you need help. Then ask for a referral to a psychologist, to help you understand the emotional reasons you have put on so much weight, and also an American Dietetic Association-registered nutritionist who can help you craft a healthy eating program that works for you.
You will also have to make some lifestyle changes, but they will SAVE YOUR LIFE.