Life Advice



Backyard 'Battle of the Sexes' carries some risk

By Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: I live with my daughter, "Clara," my husband, "Don," and his son, "Steven," during the week (Steven is with his mother on the weekends).

My 15-year-old daughter is a competitive gymnast and is on the swim team. Steven is almost a year older, but is not athletic. He is more into computer games.

A month ago, I heard a commotion in the living room. A disagreement over the remote control led to the two teens wrestling. I found my dear daughter straddling Steven, pinning his hands to the floor. I sent them in opposite directions to cool off.

Steven seems a bit intimidated by Clara now. I explained this to Don and asked him to talk to his son about fairness. The next day I found Don and Steven in the backyard doing some strength exercises. The message seemed to be: You can't be weaker than a girl.

After a couple of weeks of training, Don prompted Steven to arm-wrestle Clara. I stepped in and stopped the match to avoid embarrassment. I know Don was trying to build Steven's self-esteem, but I knew he couldn't compete with my fit daughter in upper body strength. She and I both know she would have beaten him.

So now my daughter is keen to compete. Don is trying to train Steven. I saw Steven complete some pull-ups in the backyard. Clara went out after they left and churned out three times as many pull-ups.


Don should realize that girls can be stronger than boys.

I wonder, what's the best strategy from here? Should I keep them apart, let them compete, or tell her to let him have a win?

-- Modern Brady

Dear Brady: I'm not sure why you are talking to your husband about "fairness" when it was your daughter who pinned her stepbrother to the floor.


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