Dear Reader: As I noted in an earlier column, my daughter, Lisi, will be handling the writing duties a few times a week. Enjoy her take on today’s questions. - Ellie
My daughter’s friend has terrible skin. Her face is covered in red bumps, plump whiteheads, and patches of blackheads. The “picker” in me wants to go at it like crazy. Don’t worry, I don’t. But I’m desperate to help her!
It breaks my heart that she isn’t getting noticed or helped at home. She’s a new friend so I don’t know the family.
She’s quiet, and I think not being so self-conscious of her face will help her overcome her shyness. I don’t want to scare her off. She’s sweet.
Wannabe skin doc
Good for you for holding back! I can relate.
Teenage skin has a mind of its own. A dead give-away of the hormones raging inside the kids. Of course, the best course of action for really bad skin is to seek the advice of a dermatologist, which I am not.
Our skin is also a direct reflection of what we eat, so maybe this girl doesn’t have good nutritional habits. But you could start with basic hygiene.
What about having your daughter invite her friend for a sleep-over? Without making an issue, your daughter can demonstrate her own nighttime cleansing routine, maybe even “lend” her some products.
You have good intentions, but tread lightly – especially since you don’t know what her home life is like.
My friend is going through a pretty rough divorce. She has two little girls, aged seven and nine, whom she adores. One has some health issues that are manageable…. if managed properly. She’s always been the one on top of the medications (dose and timing), the doctor’s appointments, and acutely aware of when her daughter is “off.”
Her husband works long hours and isn’t that observant or on the ball. Even when they were happily married, he’d forget to give his daughter her meds, or not recognize changing symptoms. And he’s never been able to work his schedule to attend any appointments after the initial diagnosis and treatment plan were put into place.
Now her husband’s lawyer is adamantly seeking 50% custody, even though it’s clear he doesn’t have flexibility in his schedule. He’s just out to prove a point.
My friend is literally falling sick with anxiety over the health and welfare of her daughters, if and when they’re in his sole care. She has amazing support with her loving, present parents; two siblings with cousins who all grew up with her daughters; and friends willing to pitch in whenever necessary. He doesn’t have any of that as his parents are deceased; his one sibling lives overseas; and his friends are busy with their own families.
How can I sway the courts to not give him custody? I can’t watch my friend in panic mode without trying something.
You need to step down. Though your intentions are well-meaning, leave it to the courts and the lawyers to do their jobs.
You could ask your friend if her lawyer would be willing to hear you out on the basis of giving him information that she wouldn’t share. Example, she’s suffering hair and weight loss due to anxiety. Or, specific incidents where the father was (not purposefully) negligent.
I understand you’re worried. You’re a good friend. But it’s not your fight. As long as the kids are healthy and loved, it’ll play out as it should. If at any time you see/feel that they are in danger, you must speak up.
FEEDBACK Regarding the “Fit and Healthy” couple (June 7):
“I was astounded by their smugness. The pandemic has been very hard on many people's mental health, which can affect relationships and fitness levels. For example, I've struggled with depression, anxiety, stress, and burnout, and have gained weight while trying to cope and just get through each day.
“My main form of exercise (and stress relief, and community) was a group activity that went on hiatus for two years. I also went on antidepressants, which have weight gain as a side effect. (Weight gain can also occur after an injury or an illness, such as COVID, when exercising becomes more difficult. Also, thin people can be unhealthy and heavier people can be fit. You can't tell everything about someone's health just by looking at their size.)
“Thankfully, my marriage hasn't suffered, but I've had a tough time finding the emotional energy to stay connected with friends.
“If this couple is unaware of others' struggles, they may’ve indeed been lucky, but they could practice being more gracious and less judgemental.”