DEAR ABBY: I have two sons, 14 and 10. I just got married a year ago. My husband, "Kurt," has taken on the father role and does pretty well, although I think he sometimes goes a little overboard.
He and my oldest son, "Elijah," worked on a roof together, and because my son made $200 plus a $70 bonus, Kurt got upset with Elijah when he used his money to buy an Xbox. Kurt thinks Elijah should have bought clothes, toiletries, and other things he needs because we aren't rich. I agree to an extent, but it's gotten out of hand.
Now Kurt is so upset he doesn't want to give Elijah another opportunity to make more money for himself. He really made a huge stink about how Elijah spent his money. What to do?
— Very frustrated mom in Michigan
DEAR MOM: "What to do" is to calmly and privately remind your husband that Elijah is 14, and his decisions are not always mature ones. Then suggest he and Elijah work out an agreement that in the future when Elijah earns money, a certain percentage of it will be put into savings, another portion will be used for necessities, and the rest can be used for items at his discretion. It's called budgeting, and it's an important lesson every teen should learn.
Sell parents' things?
DEAR ABBY: My parents — both in their early 90s — have lived with me for three years because they need care. We have maintained their home all this time, but they will never be able to return there.
Although my parents are somewhat cognizant, both suffer with mild dementia and haven't been back to their house for nearly two years. We have enlisted the help of an auctioneer and are planning to sell their house and much of the belongings and furniture. Our dilemma is whether to tell them. I'm not sure whether it's kinder to let them believe things are as they have been or tell them differently.
— What's right in Pennsylvania?
DEAR WHAT'S RIGHT?: You say your parents suffer from mild dementia. The respectful thing to do would be to have a talk with them about it before you do anything. When you do, remind them that because it has been two years, and maintaining two households is so expensive, you think this would be the prudent thing to do.
You didn't mention whether you have your parents' power of attorney, but if you don't, you should discuss what you're planning to do with your lawyer.
Reminded of a joke
DEAR ABBY: I thought I'd share this in reference to the Aug. 22 letter from "Bedroom Secret," the religious man who feels guilty for using graphic language while making love with his wife. It reminded me of a joke about a young married couple who asked their clergyman if it was a sin to have sex before Sunday morning church services. His reply: "It's fine as long as you don't block the aisle."
— Chuckling in Rutland, Vt.