Life Advice



Ask Amy: Single mom wrestles with tough choices

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

I can speak for all parents here: We want for our children to demonstrate that they are moving forward. A good job, decent housing, stable schooling for your son: these are all signs that you are making progress. Keep going.

Dear Amy: When I was a teenager, I self-harmed and as a result have visible marks on one of my arms. These are left over from that time when I deliberately cut myself.

I often forget that these scars are there, and most people don't say anything about them, except for children.

On several occasions, young kids have asked me what's on my arm (the skin is raised and looks odd).

Over the years I have alternated between outright lies (I had an accident!), saying it's personal, or evading/changing the subject.

It just makes me feel so awkward. Is there a better way to handle this?


– L

Dear L: I’m so glad you are healing from that very tough time in your life.

I say – own your scars. They are tangible evidence of your growth and survival.

You can tell a child, truthfully, “Those are scars. That’s what your body does when it heals over a cut. The skin comes together and sometimes it leaves a mark. And those marks are there because I hurt myself when I was younger, but now it doesn’t hurt at all.”


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