Life Advice


Health & Spirit

Couple can't agree about parenting their nephew

By Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: My husband and I are raising my husband's nephew, who is 15. He has lied to us many, many times and often completely disregards the rules that have been established in our house.

This past weekend my husband and I were gone for the evening and he was supposed to stay at home, but when my husband and I came home at midnight, he was not home.

I was very angry and upset when he did get home because we didn't know where he was, and because he completely ignored what he had been told to do.

I told him he was grounded. Now my husband says I overreacted and that it's crazy for me not to expect him to disobey the rules sometimes.

He ignores the rules lots of times and I feel when he ignores them there should be consequences. Am I crazy?

-- Worried

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Dear Worried: I'm with you. You don't say if you have other children, but if your nephew landed with you, it seems possible that he has already had a tough life. You need to take his circumstances into account, pick your battles and work together to get this kid across the finish line.

He will break the rules -- all teens do -- but all of this will be made worse if you and your husband don't agree on consequences. Teens have a way of falling through any parenting gap.

Leaving the house is serious. This is a safety issue. Reasonable consequences might help him to see that, and to act differently in the future.

Dear Amy: My nephew is recently engaged, and he and his fiancée are starting to discuss wedding plans.


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