Join the debate. Vote Now on the Dear Abby Poll of the week.

by Abigail Van Buren

New Mother Is on Her Own When It Comes to Child Care

DEAR ABBY: My stepdaughter is married to a very selfish man. They have a newborn baby, and he refuses to help her with the baby. He claims that because he works, he isn't obligated.

She cares for the baby 24/7 and does all the housework, cooking, etc. If she asks him to feed the baby in the morning, he says, "I'm hungry, so I have to have my breakfast first," and he lets the baby cry. He also refuses to change a diaper.

What can she say or do that might encourage him to change his ways? It is unfair to her to work 24/7 like this, and she is exhausted. -- STEPGRANDMA IN ISRAEL

DEAR STEPGRANDMA: I agree the treatment your daughter is receiving is unfair. That her husband would eat while his infant is crying for food is beyond insensitive; it's neglectful and cruel. She should not expect this man to change his attitude. This is who he is, and he not only won't change, his self-centeredness will become worse with time.

If you can take in your grandchild -- and your stepdaughter -- and give her a chance to get some rest, please consider it. And while she is with you, point out that this will be her future as long as she remains with her husband.

Read more in: Family & Parenting | Marriage & Divorce