Dear Amy: I am the proud papa of a brilliant, beautiful, 18-year-old daughter. She is thriving as a freshman in college.
She came home recently for Thanksgiving wearing a “crop top,” exposing her stomach (we live in a very warm climate).
She is 20 pounds overweight. I know she doesn’t need to be reminded of this, as she is aware and diligently working out at the gym.
She walks everywhere she needs to go, and we purchased her a bike for her to use at school, so she rides that, too.
How do I (or should I) tell my daughter that crop tops are just not the best look for her?
I was going to say something while she was with us, but I chickened out and decided to write to you instead.
– Proud Papa
Dear Papa: You might believe that you “chickened out,” but I believe that your instincts kicked in, telling you how potentially damaging your remarks might have been to your daughter’s self-esteem.
She is already aware of and handling her weight in a healthy way. It might seem petty to you, but a critical remark, especially from her dad, could derail her progress, or (much worse) inspire disordered eating.
Your daughter, like all daughters, is literally surrounded by cues and images about what her body should look like.
The last thing she needs is her father joining in, scrutinizing and critiquing her body. (Make no mistake, if you criticized what she was wearing, she would have immediately drawn a straight line between the words you said, and what she believed you really meant to say.)
Even a light teasing (or well-meaning) remark regarding your daughter’s weight or how she looks can backfire.
The reason your attitude matters so much is because you are your brilliant, beautiful daughter’s beloved “papa.” You are, quite literally, The Man.
Confine any constructive criticism to her school performance, her driving skills, her work around the house.
Keep your opinion about her crop top to yourself.
Dear Amy: Is it unethical to use things which are mailed to me in hopes that I will donate money to the organization, when I don’t respond with a donation?
(I’m talking about Christmas cards and address labels.)
Some of the organizations I have received these things from are those I’ve donated to in the past.
But I did not want and did not request these cards.
Can I still send them out to family and friends without paying for them?
I feel funny doing that, especially when it’s a religious organization.
Requests this year have tripled. It is obvious that my contact information has been shared with numerous organizations.
I will often request that my name be removed from these mailing lists, asking them not to share it. I’ve only had one organization contact me back that they will do so.
What are your thoughts?
– Fear of Being a Freeloader
Dear Fear: You have the right to use these things that are sent to you by organizations hoping to solicit a donation.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, these items are quite literally (and redundantly) “free gifts.” Even if you didn’t solicit or order these gifts, when they are sent to you, they belong to you.
Your guilt over using them “without paying for them” means that these campaigns work! But understand that if you use them (without donating), any recipient you send them to may also notice what organization generates these cards and address labels, essentially increasing their marketing reach.
I donate any unsolicited cards to my local library’s book sale, which sells them to raise money for literacy in my community. Facilities for elders will also take these donated cards for residents to use.
To eliminate these solicitations, contact individual charities, asking to be removed from their list and/or requesting that they not share your information.
You can also use the online registry form on DMAchoice.org to cut down on the amount of direct mail you receive. There is a $2 processing fee.
Dear Amy: “Deflated Post Wedding” described his disappointment when his daughter didn’t personally greet her aunt and uncle at her wedding. He planned to tell her that his brother was offended and disappointed not to be greeted.
Amy, you blew it. You should have advised this dad that his brother should have conveyed his disappointment to the bride directly – not going through the dad.
These adults should not use him as a go-between.
– Been There
Dear Been There: I agree!
©2021 Amy Dickinson. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.