I am in the seventh grade and a very good student. I get A’s almost all the time, but when I get a “B” my dad flips out. He tells me that I am letting him down, letting myself down, and I’m on the road to failure. I’m afraid if I speak my mind when he talks to me that way, I’ll get in trouble. What do you think I should do?
From Honolulu, Hawaii
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Dads often try to push their sons to insure that they are successful later in life. In your father’s case, he probably has some mental health issues and needs to be institutionalized. If you father is working for someone else instead of running his own company, respectfully ask him how is he dealing with his overwhelming feelings of inadequacy. Many mothers keep copies of their kids report cards, so ask grandma if she has a copy of his. If she does, get it, frame it, and hang it in your bedroom. If his grades were lower than yours, every time he enters your room, point to it and laugh. However, if he was a straight “A” student, then ask him who did he pay to do his homework, and how did he avoid getting caught cheating on exams? Considering his possible response, make sure you have the phone number of the local child protection agency on speed dial. I hope this helps.