DEAR NATALIE: One of my husband's teenage grandsons from a previous marriage has posted videos of himself doing drugs -- weed and cocaine -- and drinking heavily on the Internet. I did not have the chance to show my husband the video of this boy doing cocaine (my husband wouldn't believe it because he didn't see it before it was removed), but I was able to show him the videos of the boy smoking weed and drinking right out of a vodka bottle at a wild party.
It is hard for my husband to discuss this with his daughter without divulging the source -- another child in the family. So, he has not mentioned it. Because she is not my biological child, I cannot say anything. But I am afraid that this disturbing behavior could have serious consequences. There is no guarantee that his daughter would do anything about it anyway because her husband is frequently drunk, and they allow underage kids to drink at their home.
Is there any suggestion that you have for an intervention? If not, it may fall onto my husband to bring this up, but he does not know how to approach the subject. -- CONCERNED STEPMOM
DEAR CONCERNED STEPMOM: It's overwhelming to think about what teenagers have access to today and how scary it is to think that not only are they making bad choices, but also those choices are being recorded and can come back to haunt them later in their lives. Many teens are unaware that potential employers look at social media as a way to screen job applicants.
In this situation, unfortunately, I'm not really sure there is much you can do. It sounds as though your husband has tried to do what he can, but this is about their family and their choices. If they allow their children to drink in the home with friends, that is potentially damaging to all of them. If their children and friends were to get caught, your stepdaughter and her husband could lose everything.
Anything that you say may just make you the enemy. Unless your stepgrandson gets drunk in front of you or is visibly intoxicated/under the influence of a drug, in which case you would have a reason to confront him and the situation, you likely will be looked at as a meddler, and your opinion won't be taken seriously. I hope your stepgrandson can figure this out on his own and wise up, but most likely he will have to hit a bottom -- like getting suspended at school or get arrested for underage drinking -- before it is seen as a "problem." Whatever he is going through, he has to go through it if it is ever going to get better, and numbing his pain will only prolong his inner torture.
Please send your relationship and lifestyle questions to email@example.com or tweet them to @NBSeen. You can also send postal letters to Natalie Bencivenga, 358 North Shore Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15212
(This column was originally published by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.)