How to get your parent to give you the right chores

kittycat asks: I am depressed because my dad thinks I am being selfish because he works with delivery of clothing and stuff and even though we have the air conditioning on, I really can’t bear the heat. I am secretly a little allergic to the sun (like my mum). I don’t want to upset my dad and all, but I just can’t bear it. (I can’t tell him that I am allergic). So, this one day, my dad and I were doing delivery in his little car, I told him that I was getting very dark, I was sooo hot, I couldn’t stay anymore. Then he started telling me that he spent all his day in the sun, that he and my mum could be rich and put us in a public school and not care, he said that they work for me and my sister’s education, but I really didn’t mean to upset him. And then, I got really upset and I started crying and thinking about the things he had said to me. When it comes too this I really don’t know what I should do. I feel really bad because all things he said were right. But on the other hand he was NOT being fair with me. I can’t discuss this freely with my family because they really don’t understand what it’s really like to be me. I’ve got so many things wrong about me, I’m not the kind of daughter any parent would want. I’m afraid, that some day one of my friends will find out what my mum’s real job is, and I’ll be humiliated. I don’t know what to do!!!

Hi kittycat –


There’s so much here, I want to respond to a few things.

First of all, about the work with your father, it sounds like you don’t mind doing work to help your dad; but just don’t like the excessive heat in his car.  So could you ask him if there’s other work you could do?  Maybe you could help with the bookkeeping, or preparing the clothes for delivery, or wrapping them, or…  anything, anything but sitting in that hot car!

Which leads me to my second thought:  Why are you so adamant about not telling him about your allergy?  Especially if your mother shares the same problem?  He must know about it.  Does he not respect your mother’s discomfort?  Everybody has certain things they react to in ways that are stronger than others.  For you, heat is one.  In fact, I wonder if it might be the mix of heat and focused light that you get through a windshield.  Again, the only solution I can come up with is for you to be open with him.  (And if he doesn’t like the word “allergy,” feel free to use others like “extreme sensitivity.”  You may need to use words he likes so he doesn’t feel he’s being tricked in some way).

But now onto my third.  These horrible, awful, things you say about yourself!  I don’t know what your mother does for a living, but there’s nothing she could do that would make you “not the kind of daughter any parent would want.”  Kittycat, you’ve been in touch with me enough here that I know you’re a sensitive, kind, thoughtful, wonderful person, just from your letters.  That’s exactly what any parent would want.  If there’s something you’ve done, or not done, that’s disappointed your parents, that’s totally normal; it happens to everyone.  Your grades aren’t what they ought to be?  You’re not in good physical shape?  You aren’t satisfied with your looks?  These are all things that can be changed – but feeling that you’re a useless failure is the one absolute way to make sure those changes never happen!

Instead, my friend, stand up and look in a mirror, and tell yourself “You are terrific.  You are awesome.  You are great-looking.  And now it’s time to prove it!”

And then go out into the world and do whatever it takes to become the person you want the world to see.

Funny, I’ll bet that person is a lot like the way I picture you already!
Good Luck,


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