Life Advice



Ask Amy: Mom worries that dysfunction will follow kids

By Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: My husband and I have two amazing teenage daughters.

They are mature, intelligent, and conscientious.

I'm very proud of them and look forward to seeing what they do in their lives, but this is also where my fear lies.

They have grown up witnessing an unhealthy codependent relationship between their father and me.

Although we are currently working toward a healthy solution, I fear that some of the damage has already been done.

Our daughters were never in danger and as parents we always tried to prioritize their needs over our own, but I see some of my not-so-admirable traits of low self-esteem and hints of his addictive behavior in them as well.


I'm afraid they will make the same mistakes and choose unhealthy habits and/or relationships.

What advice can you give to help them recognize and avoid this? I certainly hope these apples fall far from this tree.

Concerned Parent

Dear Concerned: You don’t outline the specific nature of the dynamic in your household, but I would venture a guess that some of the traits you mention might be hardwired for your daughters, while others are situational and learned behavior (based on the dynamic they witnessed and absorbed in early childhood).


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