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Ask Ellie: Don't get involved in adult daughter's weight struggle

Advice: You could ask her if she’d like your help, but be prepared for her to say no. Do not tell her what to do.

Dear Lisi: My daughter is overweight. Her doctor has told her that she should slim down because the extra weight is causing her joint problems. It’s not life threatening, but I’m concerned for her.

She and her husband are trying to get pregnant, which will obviously add more weight to her already small bone structure. I’d like to help her but she’s very sensitive to the issue, especially because they are having some fertility challenges.

It doesn’t help that I am naturally tall and thin, and gravitate towards healthy food choices. It annoys her when I go for the carrot sticks instead of the potato chips. We fought about it when she was a teenager living in my house.

But now she’s an adult, living on her own with her husband, hoping to start a family. I’m not interested in getting into their daily eating habits; I just want to help my daughter so she can have a healthy pregnancy.

Misunderstood Mom

Back off. She’s seeing a doctor for her fertility issues and a doctor for her own health. She’s been told what to do by a professional. She obviously wants you to know because she shared the information. She’s an adult; she didn’t have to.

You could ask her if she’d like your help, but be prepared for her to say no. If she says yes, set out creating a plan for her together. Do not tell her what to do.

Dear Lisi: My son is marrying a woman he should never be marrying. It’s not her fault; there’s nothing wrong with her. My son is gay but afraid to live his life.

I’ve known his attraction to his own gender since middle school when puberty hit. He was far more interested in the boys then the girls.

We talked easily and openly, age-appropriately, until one day, the summer before high school, he told me himself that he identified as gay. I was so happy for him that he was able to be open about his sexual identity, for his own life.

In high school, my son had quiet, private relationships with boys. They never were discussed and my son always said it was because the other person was uncomfortable.

In university, my son had a girlfriend. When I had the chance to discuss it with him privately, he cried and said he was confused but thought being with a woman was better for his future. I tried to help him unravel his thoughts and be true to himself.

COVID-19 threw a wrench in everyone’s lives, and for my son, it made it impossible for him to break up with his girlfriend. And now they’re getting married.

How can I help him get out before it’s too late?

Standing by

You must speak with your son, and I suggest in the presence of a therapist of some kind. The therapist will take the burden off of you and hopefully show your son the path he is taking vs. the path his life could take. Maybe he doesn’t realize that he can be happily married, have kids, and be fulfilled while in a relationship with a man. Hearing it from you isn’t making it real enough.

The longer he stays with this woman, the more hurt she will be when it ends. He must get out of this relationship as soon as possible and definitely before the wedding. He has his whole life ahead of him and he needs help to see what a wonderful life that could be.

FEEDBACK regarding the child with the fish-heavy lunch (Jan. 26):

Reader – “I am a teacher and principal with many years of experience in numerous school settings. You suggested the mother contact the school principal and that this isn’t about anyone compromising who they are. You acknowledge that change might be needed on everyone’s part.

“I think since this incident took place in school, there is powerful opportunity for learning to take place. The individual who had/has the opportunity to contribute to some positive action would be the author’s daughter, who could have sought out the upset younger girl to support her. The principal may also want to include some strategic suggestions for bystanders in their anti-bullying protocols.

“Yes, we all share communal space. As we help young people grow into caring and responsible adults, we owe it to them to model and coach them in taking action when they see something insensitive or unjust.”

Ellie Tesher and Lisi Tesher are advice columnists for the Star and based in Toronto. Send your relationship questions via email: [email protected] or [email protected]