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Dear Aunty D: June 2022

by Aiden

Feeling slighted, confused, or ignored? Aunty D gives advice borne of experience.

The (Chubby) Cheek!

Dear Aunty D, 

My mum has a friend, but just a ‘hi-hello’ friend, more like an acquaintance, who constantly nags me about my ‘chubby’ child. This aunty-ji won’t let up every time she sees us in public, suggesting alternative diets and even starving my son of some meals. I definitely don’t overfeed him, and she’s not even related to us, so why does she feel entitled to tell me how to raise my child? And aren’t chubby children healthy and cute anyway? 

Dear The (Chubby) Cheek!,

That aunty-ji has no right or business to pass such negative comments, especially if she’s doing it about your son’s face. If, as a mum, you are being sensible about his diet and his physical activities, and the paediatrician finds him within the ideal age/height bracket, then don’t let those comments affect you; your worry will worm its way to your son’s self-esteem. The chubbiness may be just a growing-up spurt, or part of his DNA. Either way, instead of passive anger, it’s better you deal with it constructively and head-on by increasing the physical activities that he enjoys, which will help him deal with the teasing and other challenges life throws at him.  

Unlocking the Chatterboxes

Dear Aunty D,

When I take my children to my maternal home, which is right in the same vicinity with where we live with my in-laws, they’re always tongue-tied and don’t say a peep. My parents and all my relatives think that they’re unbearably shy, or that I believe in the old-fashioned adage that children should be seen and not heard, which is not the case. But at home with my in-laws, they’re basically sparrows – I can’t get them to pipe down at all! I want them to have a good relationship with my parents also, how do I stop them from being overawed whenever we visit?

Dear Unlocking the Chatterboxes,

Firstly, if their life, their toys and their TV is in your in-laws’ place, then, that’s home; somewhere they are completely themselves. Secondly, the more you nudge them, the more they’ll clam up. Rather, try make those visits a more interactive time between your children and your maternal relatives by engaging in some board games or go on trips together so that everyone lets down their guard and opens up. Most of all, be watchful that the visits aren’t about you catching up with your side of relatives and relegating them to entertain themselves with none of the facilities available in their own room at home, but instead a time to make them feel part of the family, included and acknowledged.

The Ignored Patriarch

Dear Aunty D,

As the patriarch and head of my household, everyone constantly asks for my opinion on the menu for the day – from my wife, to my daughter-in-law, to our cook. They all ask me what I want to eat for my next meal, but when I come to the table, already salivating in anticipation, it’s never what I asked for. I’m not saying that my word should be law, but why ask me if they’re just not going to follow through? 

Dear The Ignored Patriarch,

You have my full sympathy and in my humble opinion, you’ve been tolerant for far too long. It’s about time you stomp your feet and throw a pretend ‘hissy-fit.’ Insist that alongside their choices, you should be given your turn at voicing your opinion on what dishes are served on the table. It’s definitely within reason and not too big an inconvenience for everyone, that at least once a week, on a fixed day, you get served the dish you requested; whether everyone else wants their pizza and spaghetti or they’re planning to binge on takeaways, or dine out.

Have an etiquette question? Send your dilemmas to and write “Dear Aunty D” in the subject line.

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