DEAR ABBY: I was picked on and bullied as a child. I was very insecure and dealt with low self-esteem. Through counseling I was able to overcome these issues to become a successful wife and mother. My question is: How do I prevent this from happening to my children without being an overprotective "bear" of a mom?
- Mama Bear in New York
DEAR MAMA BEAR: Children with high self-esteem are less likely to be the targets of bullies. More often it's the child whose self-esteem is fragile to begin with who becomes the victim.
Children learn self-esteem from the way their parents treat them. Tell your children you love them, talk to them, read to them, listen to them and give them your undivided attention. And when they do something right, praise them.
If you teach your children respect for others and how to be independent, they will be less likely to be bullied. When they are old enough to have unsupervised access to their cellphones and online activities, you should also monitor them for any indication that they are being harassed or harassing another child.
DEAR ABBY: I invited my sister "Alina" and her husband from out of town for Thanksgiving because they had no plans. I then extended an invitation to my other sister, "Marilyn," and her husband if they had no plans. Marilyn told me later that her daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren will be coming in from out of town, so I assumed they'd be celebrating Thanksgiving at her house.
When Marilyn asked me if they were included I said no, that the invitation was for her and her husband if they had no plans. Now she is furious with me and won't talk to me. I already have 10 guests, which is as many as I can accommodate. Who is right here?
- Thanksgiving Hostess
DEAR HOSTESS: You are. Your sister should not have assumed that because you invited her and her husband for Thanksgiving that you were automatically obligated to entertain the rest of her family. It is your right to control your guest list, not hers.