Episode 10: Overweight Daughter, Overbearing Mother


There’s a fine line between a parent supporting their child by pointing out flaws, and being too critical and overbearing (to the point of making the problem worse). She means well (most parents do), but the concerned mother in this week’s problem (submitted to Amy Dickenson‘s advice column at NPR) is beginning to obsess over her college daughter’s weight and seek a dose of much-needed perspective. If a reality check is what you want, Charlie’s got what you need. 😏


My daughter was extremely active in high school. When she went to college, she decided not to play any sports at all (due to high school burnout).

After her freshman year she put on several pounds, but she maintained that weight until this past year.

I think she is now about 40 pounds overweight. She doesn’t complain about it until a piece of clothing doesn’t fit. In general she seems OK with it. I have encouraged her to work out (I got her a sports club membership) and to be active.

My husband and I are very active and ask her to join us when we walk, etc., but she doesn’t seem to want to do it on her own. I know by her comments that it’s affecting her self-esteem, but anything I might advise puts her on the defensive.

I understand, as I struggled with my own weight when I was in college, and I know it doesn’t help to say anything. I also don’t want her to develop any eating disorders, but at about her age I did start to figure out “calories in, calories out,” and she seems not to care. She is such a beautiful person inside and out, but I worry that her weight will affect her health.

Any suggestions, or should I just keep my mouth shut?

— Worried Mom

Have advice or comments about this week’s problem? Leave your feedback and advice in the comments below, via email at ask[at]nobodyasked.com, or via voicemail below:

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