DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I ate six maple-dip doughnuts and threw up. My mother accused me of being bulimic. I am the farthest thing from it. I just ate too much sugary dough and puked. How do I get mom off my back? She says she is calling the school to talk to the guidance counsellors. Honest to God, I have never stuck my finger down my throat to get rid of any food I might have overeaten in my life. I am anything but skinny and don't care about thin-ness. -- Daughter of Paranoid Woman, Winnipeg
Dear Daughter: Say to your mother, "Please, go ahead and call the guidance counsellor. I promise you, I just overate and threw up, but if you don't believe that, put in the call. Or, if you will trust me for a day, I will voluntarily go and tell the counsellor about this misunderstanding myself and she will call you back."
Then talk to your mother about your philosophies on this subject. She needs to be reassured you are not going to binge, make yourself throw up everything you eat and end up unhealthy and/or dead -- her worst fear as a parent. Address her paranoia with information about yourself and your thoughts, and both of you will calm down. And next time, leave some doughnuts for somebody else.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: My mother had a heart attack and now she lives with us. I have a teenage daughter who thinks she knows everything, usually involving risky behaviour. I'm a caring, protective mother and I will not allow my daughter to be defiant. She argues with me about not having the latest fashions and gadgets and I pay too much attention to work or the younger children. She's a drama queen, but I also spend time with her, go shopping, watch movies and go for drives with just the two of us. I have bought her clothes and gadgets, but after a year they get outdated or she loses them. I told her when she learns responsibility, she may get more.
Here's my problem: I have overheard my own mother console my teenager and making me look like the bad person, like I'm favouring the younger ones or being stingy with money. I told my mother, "What are you doing? You are not helping the situation!" If I don't buy what my drama princess wants, grandma buys it on the side. My teenager talks back to me. I send her to her room, ground her or take her gadgets away, and here comes grandma to the rescue! This living arrangement is not working out. What should I do? -- Upset, Winnipeg
Dear Upset: Your daughter is a typical teen trying to keep up with her peers, and grandma is trying to make up for what she couldn't give you in the old days. Talk to her about not feeling guilty about that, and that you turned out just fine. Give her one more chance to butt out. If she doesn't do that, then your next conversation with Granny Buttinsky is that she will have to find another place to live where she can get watchful care, since she's going to continue to interfere in the discipline of your children.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I spent the weekend at my new man's house and left the teenagers at home. When I got back, they looked at me like I was from outer space. My oldest daughter said: "So, how was he?" and they all laughed in a rude manner. It's not like they don't have sex with their boyfriends!
I didn't know how to react, so I said, "Great!" and they looked liked I'd kicked them. I can't win. I can't slink away. I deserve to have a life and they are in their late teens. -- Disrespected for Having Sex, Winnipeg
Dear Dissed: You gave the right response to sassy "kids" in their late teens. Children of any age are always going to be grossed out thinking about their parents having sex. They are going to have to live with this.
On the other hand, you don't have to stay away an entire weekend, which might make them feel abandoned, even at this age. They might wonder if they've lost their mother to this guy they don't know well. He has to start becoming part of the family if he's a keeper. If he's not, limit the time you spend over there to one night a weekend. You need to show your kids you are a discerning parent.
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