Ask Rene:
My Daughter’s Teasing Backfired In A BIG Way! Help!

Dear Rene,

I have two daughters, Zoie 12 and Clarice 14. 

The two girls look nothing alike. One has dark hair while the other is blond. Zoie is short and stout and Clarice is tall with a model’s body. And while they are both cute in their own way, Zoie has always wished she looked more like her sister, but more importantly she cannot understand why they look so different. It’s funny how genes work, Zoie looks a lot like my grandmother and Clarice looks a lot like me.

One day the girls were arguing – they fight all the time – and Clarice told Zoie the reason she doesn’t look like me or her father is because she is adopted.  Zoie is devastated and believes that we’ve been keeping this secret from her. I explained to my daughter that she’s not adopted and Clarice was just being mean but Zoie refuses to believe us. Clarice even confessed to the prank, but Zoie is still convinced that she is adopted.

Rene, how do I turn this bad joke around and convince Zoie that she is not adopted? And what should I say to my other daughter?


Patty, Miami

Hi Patty:

Oh I hate this, not the part about being adopted rather the fact that Clarice seized on something Zoie was already insecure about. Zoie knows she looks different from the rest of the family and even though logically she knows she’s your biological child, there’s an irrational side that probably takes hold every so often and makes her wonder. So here’s my recommendation:

1. Have Fun With Science

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Time to crack the spine on those old science books because you need to brush up on genetics. Remember Gregor Mendel’s work with sweet peas that taught us about dominant and recessive traits? Refresh your memory because you’re going to have to go over that with Zoie. Look at the bright side; the work the two of you do now will give her a head start when she actually gets tested on the stuff in the coming years.