Dear Amy: I have a teenage nephew who has always acted out; I believe it’s because he lives with his father (my brother), who makes dating and partying a priority over being a parent.
My nephew’s mother lives out of state. He rarely sees her.
When I try to buy my nephew clothing or other items that his father won’t get for him, he insults me and says horrible things. I’ve tried to intervene through school and other avenues, but they tell me I can’t do anything, because I’m not his parent or guardian.
He has been expelled from school for drugs; he is in serious trouble with the law for guns, drugs, and fighting.
Because he is a juvenile, he keeps getting put into diversion programs and is therefore able to live at home. He has also stolen money from several families. His Dad does nothing to discipline him.
I do not feel safe having him at family gatherings; and especially around my young children.
I feel a bit guilty cutting a child out of my life. I have some family members who are a little scared of him, but still see him at holidays.
I have offered to host holidays, etc., but have made it known to family members that he is not to come. Is it OK for me to cut him out of my life? – An Ex-Aunt
Dear Ex-Aunt: You are NOT an “Ex-Aunt.” You may choose not to invite your nephew into your home, but this does not negate your relationship to him. It sounds as if this young man never had a chance. Both of his parents have abandoned him.
You have a duty to use your best judgment to protect yourself and your children. You believe he poses a threat to your household. But I also hope that you can convey to your nephew that you care about him and that you will always support his healthier choices. Your brother’s choices have set all of this in motion.
Dear Amy: Is it ever OK for an attendee of a party to invite other guests without clearing the invite with the hostess?
I have planned a 70th birthday party for my husband. I planned a nice luncheon with invites sent out about two months ago. We have invited only our children and his siblings.
My husband and I have both looked forward to this upcoming celebration for months, especially in light of his cancer diagnosis two years ago.
It was going to be an intimate and fun outing with my children, husband and his siblings.
Unbeknownst to either one of us, his youngest sister emailed me yesterday and stated that her daughter and husband are coming, too, and that she will pay for their lunches.
Her daughter is 34 years old and able to make decisions for herself. Her husband is able-bodied, too.
I ask myself: What other hidden agendas does this sister have? She may be asking other family members to attend, displaying family drama, or trying to sell her brother alternative cancer treatment options, as she has in the past. – Feeling Disrespected
Dear Disrespected: No, it is not OK for an attendee to invite others to a party.
It sounds as if you have been very specific in terms of your invitations, in that neither spouses nor their children are included.
Please, do not waste time speculating about why your sister-in-law has responded the way she has. Communicate with her: “We have a very specific guest list; this is what your brother wants. I hope your daughter and husband can find something else to do that day. We need to keep the guest list ‘as is’ – and are really looking forward to celebrating with you.”
This particular sister may decide that she is insulted. She may choose not to attend the luncheon. If so, do not blame yourselves, or feel pressured to change your plans. She has initiated this dust-up. She’ll have to cope with the consequence.
Dear Amy: “Peeved” was upset because other residents of his condo complex routinely put their garbage into his garbage can.
I had this same problem and the solution was simple: I bought a chain and a padlock and I was able to lock the top down.
I only have to remember to unlock it and remove the chain on collection day. – Problem Solved
Dear Solved: And here I am, picturing myself standing in the snow on collection day, having forgotten to unlock the garbage, while the truck proceeds down the street.
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