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.