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by Abigail Van Buren

Dad Wants Nephew's Death Kept a Secret From His Kids

DEAR ABBY: My husband's nephew passed away last week. He was only 26, and it was a complete shock. No one realized he was using drugs. My husband is attending the funeral (a nine-hour drive) and will be gone for four days. We have two children, ages 7 and 9, and because of the pandemic, we've decided I will stay home with them.

I'm writing to you because my husband doesn't want to tell our kids that their cousin has died -- ever. We don't see his family often -- maybe once every few years -- but the kids remember their cousin, and I'm sure they will ask about him next time we visit.

I think we need to tell them, but he is adamant they never know. Should I fill them in while he's gone or wait until he's ready to break the news? -- FORTHCOMING IN MAINE

DEAR FORTHCOMING: I do not recommend going behind your husband's back with a parenting decision like this one. He may be trying to shield the children from the reality that not only old people but also young people are mortal.

When he returns, approach the kids together, and in an age-appropriate manner, explain to them separately what happened. Many young people experiment with drugs because they think that addiction and death won't happen to them. Knowing what happened to their cousin could ensure it won't happen to either of them.

Read more in: Family & Parenting | Death | Addiction | Covid 19