Facebook Twitter

Dad says he wants to talk but then acts dismissive

SHARE Dad says he wants to talk but then acts dismissive

I get into fights with my dad almost every night. He asks me to talk to him, but when I try to tell him my problems, he says they are stupid and a waste of time or he just doesn't listen. Am I being overemotional? —Kim, 14, Othello, Wash.

We're sorry your dad isn't being more supportive. It might be difficult for him to take your problems seriously because they are so different from his own, but that doesn't mean he should stop listening. Perhaps he wants to fix your problems when he hears them and he can't — so it's easier for him to push them aside by downplaying their importance.

The next time you or he feels like talking, start the conversation by saying: "I just want someone to listen. I don't want you to try to solve it or fix it." That way he knows how to help before you begin. If that doesn't work, you might want to share your problems with another adult in your life and stick to telling your dad positive things that happened to you during the day.

You can still be close with him by doing things together and talking about topics that don't tend to cause fights. Also, Kim, you can try asking your dad about his day. It sounds like he might have a lot on his mind. You can listen without trying to fix anything — which would be a great way to show him how you'd like to be treated.

I'm slightly overweight, and I've struggled with my appearance my whole life. My boyfriend recently confessed that he would like me to get into shape. He claims he just wants me to be active and healthy, but I'm worried he's embarrassed to be seen with me. What should I do? —Candace, 16, San Diego

Having a boyfriend who is concerned about your health is one thing, but if he's only concerned about your appearance, that's a problem. Since you say your weight has been the same for a while, that means your boyfriend knew what you looked like when you got together; he was obviously into your appearance then — most likely he still is now.

So give him the benefit of the doubt for the time being. Of course, it's up to you to decide in the long run if he's legitimately worried about you or if he's just being shallow. Staying fit is important, so if you know you could use more exercise or a healthier diet, go for it. Talk to your doctor first and see what your ideal weight is. That way, you'll have a professional's opinion.

Whether or not you decide to lose weight, if you continue to feel like your boyfriend is too focused on your looks and that's making you feel bad about yourself, say goodbye and move on. A boyfriend should make you happy, not anxious.

I have the skin disease eczema. It's really hard for me to wear clothes that show my arms or legs because I don't want anyone to talk about me. Can you tell me how I can ignore what people say or make it not as noticeable? — Anna, 17, Dumfries, Va.

You didn't mention if you've seen a doctor yet; if not, make an appointment with a dermatologist right away. She can prescribe medication and suggest diet and stress-management tips to help control your outbreaks.

As far as the comments go, sometimes people don't know how to react when they see something different, and their first instinct is to talk about it. They just want to understand what's happening to your skin. If they're making the comments to your face, the best way to respond is by briefly explaining your condition and then changing the topic.

The next time someone mentions it, say: "Oh, it's just eczema. It makes my skin sensitive." If you don't make a big deal about it, people will lose interest, and the conversation should naturally move on. If you dwell on it, the focus will stay on your skin. So stay positive and wear the cute clothes you love (covering up all the time will only bum you out), and people will notice your great personality and sense of style — not your eczema.

Questions may be sent directly to Seventeen magazine at: dearseventeen@hearst.com.

© Hearst Communications Inc.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate Inc.