Ask Johanna

Dear Johanna,

My 14-year-old daughter does nothing but watch television, from the time she walks in the door from school or activities to the time she goes to bed.  What can I do?  I’m afraid she’s destroying her brain!

Frantic in Frazierville

Dear Frantic,

This is one I really would not worry about.  True, studies have shown that long exposure to television reduces a kid’s ability to concentrate and gradually, over time, reduces the number of active brain cells they have, but wouldn’t you agree that’s probably a good thing?  I mean, teenagers have too many brain cells as it is.  Just think how much less effectively your daughter could argue against every rule you throw at her or outwit you in her fiendish ways if she lost a few brain cells–especially if she couldn’t concentrate!  Plug that girl in!

Dear Johanna,

My husband says I must be losing my hearing because I did not even respond the other morning when he asked me where his wallet was.  I don’t think I’m losing my hearing, but I’m wondering.  Do you think I should have my ears checked?

Deaf in Delaware

Dear Deaf,

Sounds to me like a classic case of selective hearing.  How many times have you found his wallet for him over the years? 

Dear Johanna,

My teenaged son recently called me a “psycho b_ _ _ h”  because I accused him of things he says he “would never do.”  I was very hurt by his rudeness, but I also felt guilty because I could tell he clearly felt I had misjudged him. How can I repair this relationship?  What should I do to make it up to him?

Sad in Saint Louis

Dear Sad,

Nothing! I would take his term for you as a badge of honor. If you’re getting to him that much, you must be hitting close to home. You’re obviously doing your job as a mother.   Do not retreat!  Stay in the battle!  Keep your nose to the ground, your ears sharp.  You’re onto something!


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