Ask Amy

Tuesday, April 13, 2010 at 11:45pm

DEAR AMY: I am 17 years old. I am 5 foot 3 and weigh 130 pounds. I am perfectly comfortable with my body, and I like my size.

However, every day my mom tells me that I am fat and that I could "stand to lose 50 pounds and then some."

I have told her to stop many times, but she still says, "Ewwww," and, "Look at how fat you are."

She pokes, prods and pinches me in areas where I am not comfortable being touched. Sometimes she pulls on the waistband of my pants and then lets go, similar to someone snapping the strap of your bra.

She stands in the doorway when I'm changing and tells me how fat I am.

How do I make her stop?

— Fatty

DEAR FATTY: What you describe is abusive.

It's not abusive for your mother to talk with you about your weight, but to harass you in this way is over the line.

I'm not even going to dignify your mother's assessment except to assure you that your weight is within the healthy range. You already know this — and it's not really the point.

No one should heckle you about your body's shape — or touch you in places you don't wish to be touched — no matter what relationship the person has with you.

We each have the basic right to dominion over our own bodies.

If your mother touches you in ways you don't like, you should tell her, "Please don't touch me; that makes me uncomfortable, and I want you to stop."

Because she cannot be trusted, your mother should not watch you change clothes.

Please try your hardest to tune out your mom's irrational appraisal. You should talk to a trusted adult (preferably a professional counselor) who can help you to assess what's going on at home.


DEAR AMY: At various wholesome ballroom dances the past few months, a mutual attraction has developed between the sexiest mature male I've ever met and me.

We're both divorced and are close to our grown children.

He's asked me to call him at his number but has not asked for mine.

We've met for lunch once near his place of business. Because I live alone and we have no mutual friends, I'm hesitant to invite him over.

A one-night stand is not my style.

Should I make a move, and if so — what should it be?

— Cautious

DEAR CAUTIOUS: Your gentleman friend did not ask for your number because he knows that some women don't like to give out their phone numbers for security reasons.

He has given you his phone number, along with its implied invitation to call.

I suggest you put his number to good use and invite him somewhere to do something with you.

You fill in the "somewhere" and "something," and if you don't want to have a one-night stand, then don't have one.

I think the best getting-to-know-you dates involve a shared activity. Bowling is surprisingly fun, partly because everyone is at least a little bit bad at it. If bowling in rented shoes is not your style, you might invite him to an art opening.

I agree with your choice to be cautious about inviting this man (or any person you don't know well) into your home.

Take it slowly, and enjoy the dance.


DEAR AMY: You gave good advice to "Depressed" in encouraging her and her husband to get her drug-taking and thieving stepson out of their home and into a halfway house.

A halfway house provides the right kind of support while the addict gets back on his or her feet.

A support group could help parents like these reach that decision.

We have been a part of Families Anonymous for quite a while. It has made a difference in our life, and we can see the difference it makes in others' lives as well.

Addiction affects the entire family, and it is nice for parents to have a place where they can address their feelings, fears and concerns. Please let people know about Families Anonymous. The Web site is www.familiesanonymous.org.

— Grateful

DEAR GRATEFUL: Parents, family members and friends of addicts gain support and insight from each other. I highly recommend group support systems such as Families Anonymous.

Send questions via e-mail to askamy@tribune.com

Filed under: Lifestyles