Dear Abby: I'm 12 and weigh 204 pounds. I feel really fat and I want to go on a diet, but my mom won't let me. I'm getting bad grades in gym class and need your help.
Sad Girl in New Hampshire
By recognizing that you have a problem that you can't deal with on your own, you have already taken an important first step in resolving it. The next is to talk to your gym teacher about this and enlist her aid in convincing your mother to give you the help you need.
Childhood obesity is rampant in this country, and all those extra pounds could negatively affect your health — not only now, but in the future. If you have a pediatrician, the doctor may be able to discuss the importance of a healthy diet and exercise program for you with your mom. You will need the help of other adults to make her understand if she can't see that you need help now.
Dear Abby: I am 18 and dating someone of a different race. We have been together for more than a year. The problem is my father is very racist. Every time I sneak out to go see my boyfriend, my father wants to know who I am with. I tell him it's "my friends," but he knows I'm lying.
I want to tell him who I'm dating, but I know he's going to be judgmental and rude if I introduce him to my boyfriend. Any advice on what to do?
Nervous in the Northeast
At 18 you are too old to be sneaking around. Your father knows something is up, and he probably suspects the reason you're not being truthful or open, so stop lying. If he wants to know why you haven't brought the young man around, tell him it's because you know how he would react. And IF you decide to make introductions, be sure your boyfriend knows in advance what the reaction will probably be — if he agrees to meet your dad, that is. But I wouldn't blame him if he didn't.