By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Dear Abby 10/19
Aunt raising troubled nephew must fend off hostile critic
Placeholder Image
    DEAR ABBY: I recently accepted the honor of raising my 10-year-old nephew, "Matt." I have a daughter, "Sierra," who is also 10. Sierra's father is being a jerk about my raising someone else's child. He claims that by having Matt in the house, I am "taking away" from our daughter. She calls him the brother she has always wanted.
    Matt was in trouble in the past. He has issues because he has been passed around a lot. We're dealing with it as a family. Matt is getting used to the fact that I am not going to throw him away no matter what he does, and he's straightening up. He's a great kid.
    What should I do about the fact that my daughter's dad won't stop with the "he has parents, let them raise him" remarks? If I send Matt back, I know he'll end up in jail. He's doing well here. I told Sierra's father to mind his own business and I will handle mine, but he's being hateful about it toward me and our daughter. I know you'll have something good for me, Abby. Please share. — CONCERNED AUNT IN NORTH CAROLINA
    DEAR CONCERNED AUNT: Nowhere in your letter did you refer to "the father of your daughter" as your husband. In this case, that may be a good thing. It implies that he is not under your roof spreading his poison.
    In most relationships, one party is more dominant than the other. In your case, I hope the dominant party is you, because you must draw a line in the sand that Sierra's father can't cross. The price he will have to pay for having a relationship with you and your daughter will be that he can no longer bad-mouth your nephew or your choice to raise him.
    I know this isn't a decision that can be made lightly, but the question you must answer is: In the scheme of things, which "man" in your life is more important to you?

    DEAR ABBY: My mother recently killed herself. She had been in pain for a long time and couldn't take it anymore.
    My two young daughters — ages 6 and 8 — have asked me several times, "How did Nana die?" I told them Nana had been in a lot of pain for a long time, and then she died.
    They continue to ask, though, how she died. I searched on the Internet, and many sources say to tell them what happened, but I feel they are too young. Also, my dad doesn't want me to tell them specifics. He feels they are too young to know she killed herself with a gun.
    What should I do? When is the right time to tell them? How should I tell them? Please advise me because I have no idea how to handle this, and most parenting resources don't address this situation. — LOVING DAUGHTER AND MOTHER
    DEAR LOVING DAUGHTER: I have a hunch that the reason your daughters "continue to ask" how Nana died is they either already know the answer and want confirmation, or people have clammed up about it in their presence to the point they know something is wrong.
    You should sit them down and ask them why they have been asking that question. Then tell them the truth — that Nana was sick and in pain and ended her life earlier than anyone wanted her to.
    You did not mention whether your mother killed herself because she was in physical or psychological pain. If it was the latter, it's important that your daughters understand in the coming years that depression can run in families, that there is help for it, and that they can come to you if they need to talk about anything that is troubling them.
Sign up for the Herald's free e-newsletter