Is Daughter Caring or Judgmental?

By Amy Dickinson | December 8th, 2023

Expressing concern for her mother’s health choices

A mother and daughter visiting on a sofa at home. Image by motortion. Article: Is Daughter Caring or Judgmental?

A woman is concerned about her mother’s health choices and expressed her worries to her father. Is the daughter caring or judgmental? See what advice columnist Amy Dickinson thinks.

Dear Amy:

I am a woman in my 40’s. I’m very successful in my career and life. My mother is in her 70’s. She is extremely unhealthy – she always has been (mostly due to lack of exercise and poor diet).

Due to health issues, she’s recently been prescribed opioids.

It is my opinion that she uses them as a crutch. Rather than eat right or exercise, she pops another pill. When I mention this to my father, her caretaker, he becomes furious and accuses me of being the drug addict (yes, I occasionally smoke pot).

I think opioids are terrible and dangerous, and I’ve seen too many people overdose to be comfortable with this.

What should I do, if anything?

– Upset

Dear Upset:

You seem to be blaming your mother for health problems that you deem could be fixed through exercise and diet.

You don’t mention being a physician or nutritionist, in fact you don’t seem to know what your mother’s medical issues are, or why she has been prescribed opioids.

Your attitude is actually similar to your father’s. You assume she is addicted to opioids, he assumes you are addicted to marijuana, when in fact you both may be using these substances in proper doses.

If you want to pass judgment, you should educate yourself on her condition and treatment, and lend a helping hand in her care.

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 being caring or judgmental to dark family secrets and DNA surprises. A solid reporter, Dickinson researches her topics to provide readers with informed opinions and answers. You can email Amy Dickinson at or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068.

©2023 by Amy Dickinson

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