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

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:

2. Break Out The Family Photos

Image 2 of 3

After you’ve covered basic science, whip out the old family photo albums. You said yourself that Clarice looks like you and Zoie looks like your grandmother. That means that you, with your model-like build, also didn’t look like your grandmother, an important point to make to Zoie. This would be a perfect time to share with Zoie your own fears (if you had them) growing up looking like you didn’t belong. Kids think we cannot possibly relate to what they’re going through; show her you understand because you’ve been there.

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Combing the aisles at Target in search of the best deal on Cheerios, it hit Rene Syler like the stench of a dirty diaper on a hot summer’s day. Not only is perfection overrated its utterly impossible! Suddenly empowered, she figuratively donned her cape, scooped up another taco kit for dinner and Good Enough Mother was born.

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