Dear Abby • My 15-year-old granddaughter is an emotional eater and has gained a lot of weight. When she was quite young, her mother walked out, and that rejection, combined with her dad laying a lot of the household responsibility on her, makes her anxious and depressed. Her dad isn’t great with the whole “feelings” thing, and I live 800 miles away and can be supportive only from afar.
I buy her most of her clothing, and she’s now so large she can’t fit into most of the trendy stores’ plus-sizes. Another family member recently called her fat — which, of course, made her feel awful and drove her to bury her feelings with more food. How can I help her take better care of herself without making her feel even worse? — CONCERNED NANNY FROM AFAR
Dear Concerned Nanny • The challenges your granddaughter is facing cannot be resolved from afar, regardless of how much you may wish to. She needs a caring female influence in her life. A way to teach her healthy habits and help boost her self-esteem might be to invite her to live with you if you are able.
Dear Abby • We are members of a postcard club living in a nursing home in Ontario, Canada. We reach out to other nursing homes all over the world, sending them homemade postcards. We have made connections with neighboring communities and across the globe. We have also sent cards to the queen and our former prime minister — and received letters from both in return!
We have a group here who gather together to read Dear Abby letters. We then give our opinion/response, and finish by reading your actual reply. We get a huge kick out of comparing our answers and advice to yours. It’s a beloved program here at our residence and has been for years. — HAPPY OLDIES IN CANADA
Dear Happy Oldies • Thank you for writing to let me know. The original artwork on your postcard is charming, and it’s easy to see why you have made friends worldwide. With every effort you make, you are spreading good will.
The concept of a Dear Abby discussion group has resonated for many years in places where people gather to make interesting conversation — from the water cooler to senior centers. I hope you will continue to enjoy participating for many years to come.
Dear Abby • After 24 years of unhappy marriage, my wife informed me that she married me only out of guilt. I’m sorely tempted to bail. Your thoughts? — UNHAPPY IN THE SOUTH
Dear Unhappy • After nearly a quarter of a century of misery, my thought is that you both have probably suffered enough.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, Calif. 90069.