Ask Tia Juana

     Tia Juana will cheerfully provide advice for anyone that asks.  Just mail your questions to “Ask Tia Juana” at PO Box 8, Van Horn, Texas 79855.  All questions will remain anonymous unless there is a chance for extortion.  Disclaimer:  Tia Juana is not a licensed counselor or therapist and none of the advice should be considered professional.

Dear Tia,

I am the mother of a beautiful, smart, good-hearted, kind teenager, who happens to be overweight.  I am so tired of supposedly well-meaning people who look past my daughter’s qualities and make hurtful remarks about her weight.  The worst one is, “she has such a pretty face, if she only lost weight.”  It’s not as though my daughter sits around eating all day long—she is very active at school, and is not a lazy person.  I have to admit that my poor daughter comes by her weight honestly, since I’m not exactly svelte, and neither is my mother.  I experienced the same ugly, insensitive remarks when I was growing up, and I still bear the mental scars from peers spewing their cruelty.  How do I protect my daughter from growing up scarred like me without seeming to be an overbearing, overprotective mom?

Fat not Phat

Dear Fat,

There have always been bullies who prey on the vulnerable in an effort to boost their self-worth.  There is a pack mentality that validates ugly behavior, which normally would not exist individually.  Continue to encourage your daughter and reassure her that beauty comes from within.  If all else fails, tell your daughter that every time she hears about how pretty she would be if she lost weight, to reply with “you’d be so smart if you only had a brain.”  Regardless, try to stay in the background when it comes to protecting your daughter so as not to embarrass her even more; after all, she is still a teen.  Try to motivate your daughter to lose weight, not to succumb to peer pressure, but to improve her health, and boost her self-confidence.  Good luck!