Advice from Amy: ‘My Daughter Is Overweight’

By Amy Dickinson | December 21st, 2021

Proud papa wants to stop crop top

woman in park photo by Bignai Dreamstime. For article, Advice from Amy: ‘My Daughter Is Overweight’ Image

‘My daughter is overweight,’ a concerned father writes to advice columnist Amy Dickinson. The 18-year-old college student is also “brilliant” and “beautiful,” he says. But given her weight, she should not be wearing the clothes she is wearing. Should he tell his daughter what he thinks?

Dear Amy:

I am the proud papa of a brilliant, beautiful, 18-year-old daughter. She is thriving as a freshman in college.

She came home recently for Thanksgiving wearing a “crop top,” exposing her stomach (we live in a very warm climate).

She is 20 pounds overweight. I know she doesn’t need to be reminded of this, as she is aware and diligently working out at the gym.

She walks everywhere she needs to go, and we purchased her a bike for her to use at school, so she rides that, too.

How do I (or should I) tell my daughter that crop tops are just not the best look for her?

I was going to say something while she was with us, but I chickened out and decided to write to you instead.

– Proud Papa

Dear Papa:

You might believe that you “chickened out,” but I believe that your instincts kicked in, telling you how potentially damaging your remarks might have been to your daughter’s self-esteem.

She is already aware of and handling her weight in a healthy way. It might seem petty to you, but a critical remark, especially from her dad, could derail her progress, or (much worse) inspire disordered eating.

Your daughter, like all daughters, is literally surrounded by cues and images about what her body should look like.

The last thing she needs is her father joining in, scrutinizing and critiquing her body. (Make no mistake, if you criticized what she was wearing, she would have immediately drawn a straight line between the words you said, and what she believed you really meant to say.)

Even a light teasing (or well-meaning) remark regarding your daughter’s weight or how she looks can backfire.

The reason your attitude matters so much is because you are your brilliant, beautiful daughter’s beloved “papa.” You are, quite literally, The Man.

Confine any constructive criticism to her school performance, her driving skills, her work around the house.

Keep your opinion about her crop top to yourself.

Want to get even more life tips from Amy? Read more of her advice columns here!

In the tradition of the great personal advice columnists, Chicago Tribune’s Amy Dickinson is a plainspoken straight shooter who relates to readers of all ages. She answers personal questions by addressing issues from both her head and her heart – ranging from when a dad is concerned that ‘my daughter is overweight’ to DNA surprises. A solid reporter, Dickinson researches her topics to provide readers with informed opinions and answers. Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068

© 2021 by Amy Dickinson

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