DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I'm having trouble with my mouthy daughter who's only 14 and almost six feet tall. She thinks this gives her authority in the house. I can still slap her face if I need to. Yesterday she called me a #$%& bitch and I stepped up and winged her a good one. To my shock, she hit me back, really hard. I just gave her a motherly clip, but she almost knocked me sideways. I screamed at her to go to her room and she said "I hate you!" and went out the door and didn't come back until I found her at her auntie's at midnight. My sister and her husband (get this) made me promise never to touch her again or they would not give her back to me. Her uncle said he would report me if I ever hit her again because I have been "beating" her since she was old enough to sass me back. He said slapping is assault, for crap sake, and he will stick up for her in court. My sister was scared to say a word because she'd been hiding my daughter and she knows she's in trouble with me. Don't I have the right to discipline my own daughter? -- Single Mom, Winnipeg
Dear Single: What you're really asking is: "Don't I have the right to strike my own daughter in the head?" No, you don't. That's child abuse and a punishable crime. On top of that, you should be aware that knocks to the head can cause all kinds of problems, and who knows how many times you have cracked her one. Brain damage is extremely serious, as is the neck damage that comes from having your head slammed to the side quickly. If the only way your daughter could get you to stop assaulting her was to defend herself, maybe you should take that lesson and learn from it. To repair your relationship and the damage done over the years, the two of you really need counselling. You could lose your daughter from your life totally through your physical and mental harshness. She said, "I hate you!" and she may have meant it. Try to rebuild a decent relationship with your daughter before she runs away to the streets or finally walks out, gets a job of any kind, and never comes back to see you.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I'm hurting so much. I couldn't find work in Manitoba, and finally succeeded out of province. The plan was for my family to follow. I left thinking everything was OK, but my sweetie quickly stopped calling and then broke up with me. Ouch! She said she "enjoyed her freedom" but I wasn't possessive or smothering. I dropped everything and drove back to Winnipeg. She said I didn't show her affection and sex. I must admit I gained 100 lbs. in six years and spent a lot of time playing video games because I was self-conscious about sex at my weight. She felt like we were roommates. I apologized with all my heart saying, "Why didn't you ever tell me; why didn't we talk about this?" Apparently, she did say something, but I brushed it off, didn't think it was serious. Isn't love unconditional? And then she said "You left me!" She's even deleted me from Facebook. Now, I'm back out of province working, and hurting. What can I do to win her back? -- In So Much Pain, Out of Province
Dear Pain: First, this jagged little pill: parent-child love is usually unconditional but adult-adult love is not. No one can afford to ignore their mate by playing video games and gaining enough weight to become morbidly obese. That means a condition stemming from the weight could kill you, like a sudden heart attack. So stop doing more of what doesn't work with your ex. Put the focus on you for six months. Get into shape and save a pile of money. Don't come back until you're healthy, and have a job waiting here. Give your ex time to stop being so irritated. Be pleasant and friendly when she calls; that's it. Don't call her. Give her the freedom she wants in spades. Date if you want companionship. You're a free man. Don't work out with the sole purpose of winning her back. Get in shape because you love life, want to have a wife one day, and want to live as a healthy, happy man again. Your destiny may well be a different woman, living where you do now.
Questions or comments? Write Miss Lonelyhearts c/o Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Ave., Wpg, R2X 3B6, or email email@example.com