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by Abigail Van Buren

Tall Teenager Is Reluctant to Stand Over Classmates

DEAR ABBY: My 13-year-old granddaughter is 5 feet 9 inches tall. She walks hunched over, and when she stands with a group, she keeps her legs 2 feet apart. She's on a softball team and is always sitting on the ground in the dugout.

She is the tallest one in the seventh grade in her school. Some of her classmates call her the "giant." I've been with her when someone approaches her who hasn't seen her in a while and says, "Wow! You've grown really tall."

She hates school and has no friends. She also happens to be very pretty. She's taller than anyone in the family. What can we do for her? -- GRANDPA IN INDIANA

DEAR GRANDPA: Being perceived as different at your granddaughter's age can be very painful. The best thing you can do for her right now is to be supportive.

Keep telling her that being tall is not only nothing to be ashamed of, but it can be an asset. Encourage her to find activities she is interested in. In addition to softball, she might excel at basketball or volleyball. Remind her that fashion models are tall women, many of whom were teased about their height when they were her age.

Tall women of note: Taylor Swift, Gisele Bundchen, Nicole Kidman, Venus and Serena Williams, Brooke Shields, Geena Davis and Michelle Obama come immediately to mind. First daughter Malia Obama was 5 feet 9 at 13, like your granddaughter. None of them is ashamed of their height; they "own" who they are and carry themselves with pride. Research modeling schools in your area because enrolling your granddaughter in some of the classes may help her to feel less awkward about her height.

Read more in: Teens | Family & Parenting