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by Abigail Van Buren

Custody Battle Could Have Repercussions at Family Get-Togethers

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I recently gained custody of my younger half-brother after a nasty legal battle with my father and stepmother. While we abhor what led to this, we are delighted my brother is in our home and our lives. With the exception of his parents, so is everyone else in our families.

My brother will be coming with us to family gatherings that include my dad and stepmother. Most of the family is not privy to the circumstances that led to this situation, and I'm sure questions will come up. My brother has PTSD from it, and talking about it right now is difficult for him. He's in therapy and receiving help, but how can we dissuade potentially upsetting questions without things being weird? -- PROTECTIVE IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR PROTECTIVE: A way to accomplish it would be to have a private talk with your relatives before these events. Explain what happened and that your brother is receiving help but is in too much pain right now to answer any questions, which is why you prefer the subject not be mentioned.

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