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by Abigail Van Buren

Mom Is Reluctant to Reconnect With Foul-Mouthed Sister-in-Law

DEAR ABBY: About three years ago, I got into an argument with my sister-in-law because of the verbal abuse she aimed at her children, who were 3 and 10. She swore at them and still puts them down constantly. I finally had enough and told her I didn't want to be around her if she was going to talk to them that way. She told me they were her kids so she could talk to them how she wanted. I haven't spoken to her since.

Now, three years later, I have two boys of my own. She wants to be in their lives, and my in-laws are upset that my husband and I don't want her around them. She has since apologized for her behavior, but neither of us trusts her, and we don't want her influence on our children. Should we accept her apology and spend time with her to appease my husband's family or do what we think is right for our kids? -- AVOIDING HER IN NEW YORK

DEAR AVOIDING HER: Your sister-in-law has apologized. Give her one more chance, and if you catch her berating her children or using foul language in front of your boys, take a giant step backward and do not expose them to her again -- or at least until they are old enough to understand that behavior like hers isn't tolerated in your branch of the family and why.

Read more in: Family & Parenting | Abuse