DEAR ABBY: My mother watches my two children before and after school and during the breaks. She is a caring person, but she is also very critical of my daughter. (She's fine with my son.)
Mom constantly tells my daughter she needs to lose weight or exercise more, or her hair looks stringy, or she isn't dressed properly. My daughter is only 9.
My mother did this to me when I was younger, and it made me feel I could never live up to her standards. How should I approach her about this? I don't want my daughter to feel inadequate. She's a beautiful, intelligent little girl. -- FRUSTRATED IN MISSOURI
DEAR FRUSTRATED: Deal with this firmly, before your mother erodes your daughter's self-esteem as she did yours. Tell her how her constant criticism made you feel, that you don't want the same thing to happen to your little girl, and that anytime she's tempted to make a negative comment, she should substitute a positive one instead. Be direct with her, and if she isn't able to comply, make other arrangements for your daughter.