While I'm away, readers give the advice.
On persuading an overweight child to tackle the weight problem:
I've struggled with weight all my life. I was also a foster parent for 20 years, taking in underloved and unlovable children of all ages. I couldn't reason with these kids, and they'd already been yelled at and shamed enough to last a lifetime.
Over and over I learned (from family therapists) the value of positive reinforcement and of teaching by example, as well as of setting the mood and attitude in my home. Once they wanted to be part of a group (our family) they would change behavior to be more acceptable to that group.
When the behavior begins to change, that's when you reinforce it with compliments and smiles.
I took in those unlovely, badly behaved, needy children and gradually taught them "social skills" so that they were easier for others to accept, and bit by bit they became more lovable and more lovely inside and out. It's a long process -- but it actually works.
Too many parents, especially men, try to "fix" their children after they are teens, which only teaches them that they are not good enough -- at a time in their lives when they need every ounce of self-confidence they can manage. By the time they're 20, you can only do two things without harm: Listen endlessly, and set a good example.
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On unfaithful spouses:
I was recently dumped by a spouse of 25 years for another woman. After he left I found out from several sources that he was a serial cheater and a liar, too, of course. The devastation wreaked by the magnitude of the betrayal clobbered me, our children, his new mistress' family too.
Deception cannot be allowed to gain a foothold in a marriage; it grows and festers and breeds more damage. If he had been open and honest with me from the beginning, his insecurities could have been addressed, and either our marriage would have grown closer or we would have gone separate ways. Both good outcomes. But he took that choice from me, and that was not fair. He repeatedly exposed me to the possibility of STDs -- not OK. He stopped communicating, which drove us apart.
No, it is never OK to hide an affair. The spouse has a right to know what is happening in her/his life and her/his body and to make an informed choice, just as he made a choice when he unzipped. If sex is "no big deal," then why not own it?
Two years and much upheaval later, I only wish I had known earlier. My life is so much better without my ex in it. I thought his distance and hostility were my fault. They weren't. He wasted my time, and that is all any of us has.