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

by Abigail Van Buren

Mom Is Caught in the Middle Between Dad, Adult Children

DEAR ABBY: My husband wants me to stop speaking to our adult children. He says they have both offended him, and he wants an apology from them.

My daughter didn't help him when he was out of the home for a few months and had nowhere to go. At the time, she was living in her boyfriend's grandparents' home. She had asked them if it was OK, but they said no. My husband was hurt by this and wants her to apologize for "treating him this way." They no longer speak to each other and exchanged hurtful texts until my daughter blocked him.

My son, who just turned 18, is in college. He came home for a break and asked if he could stay with his girlfriend. I said yes. When my husband found out, he ordered our son to come home. My son pulled the "I'm 18; you can't tell me what to do." He then said our family crisis was causing his girlfriend to have anxiety and depression. This upset my husband because he felt he was being blamed for her issues and disrespected when my son refused to come home. My husband feels I should stop speaking to him, too, to support him.

I cannot bring myself to do this. My husband says our marriage is over if I can't support him. What would you do? -- IN A FAMILY MESS

DEAR "MESS": Your husband is a handful. With his authoritarian attitude, he cannot seem to stop himself from alienating family members. He is acting like a bullying child. Right now, he is two for two and counting.

I do not think you should stop talking to your daughter for things beyond her control or for telling the truth. If you have any power at all in your marital relationship, please insist that all of you get family counseling from a licensed professional. Your husband needs to learn to communicate more effectively with his son. If your husband refuses to participate, and he may, then you have some important decisions about your future that I cannot make for you.

Read more in: Family & Parenting