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Helpful Aunt Regrets Four Kids Are Too Much for Her to Handle

DEAR ABBY: My brother and sister-in-law have four children, ages 11, 10, 4 and 3. They are financially strapped and can't afford to take the children to entertainment or cultural events because every dime is spent for essentials.

I'm financially stable and childless. I take the older children to various activities once every month or so. I don't include the younger ones because they are unruly. I feel somewhat guilty for not including them. However, I want to continue doing it for the older children so they'll be exposed to various events they couldn't see otherwise.

Am I wrong for not wanting to be responsible for the younger children, or should I stop taking any of them out to be fair? -- TRYING MY BEST IN THE SOUTH

DEAR TRYING: Explain to the parents, if you haven't already, that you would love to include the younger children, but that you are unable to because of their unruly behavior, which you are unable to control. What you're doing is not "unfair"; it is wise. If you were to take all four and not be able to control them, one of the little ones could be seriously injured.

Think of some other way you can make the younger children feel special. Perhaps taking them to a park occasionally would make them feel less left out.

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