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by Abigail Van Buren

Sister's Backyard Leisure Is Smoking, Not Pulling, Weed

DEAR ABBY: Years ago you gave me some good advice, and now I have a new issue I need help with. My sister, "Rhonda," and her husband -- both in their mid-50s -- will be visiting us again this summer. The last time they stayed, we caught them in our backyard smoking pot.

My husband and I were shocked and upset about it, and so were our teenage children. This was a violation of the rules in our home and set a poor example for our children, but I was too spineless to say anything.

I want to tell Rhonda and her husband before this next visit that drugs are absolutely not allowed on our property, but my mother wants me to remain silent because she's worried they'll stop visiting us unless I keep my mouth shut.

I want to see Rhonda, but not at the cost of compromising my principles. And I am confused and hurt that even my mother doesn't seem to care how I feel about how unacceptable this behavior is in my own home. Am I being unfair? Help! -- SPINELESS IN SAN DIEGO

DEAR SPINELESS: Your mother is wrong. It is not "unfair" to set standards in your home to teach your children the difference between right and wrong. If you don't speak up, your sister will assume -- and rightly so -- that you have no objection to her using an illegal substance on your property. What happened last year was unfortunate. But if you stay silent and it happens again, you will have no one to blame but yourself.