DEAR ABBY: My husband of two years and I are having a tough time raising my 12-year-old brother. My mother passed away two years ago, and he agreed to help me raise him until he's 18. Since my brother moved in with us, we've all had a hard time adjusting. I constantly feel I have to choose between them. My husband is tough with my brother because he says he has to become a man. I try to protect my brother, because the male influence in his life hasn't been the best.
What should I do? Should I let my husband discipline him as he wishes, or should I intervene? -- FRUSTRATED IN CASTLE ROCK, COLO.
DEAR FRUSTRATED: I agree your brother will have to learn to become a man, but right now he is only a 12-year-old child who has lost his mother -– and whose father is apparently nowhere in sight. That you have taken him in is wonderful, but you and your husband need to come to an understanding and an agreement about what "discipline" means. In order for discipline to work, it must also be fair, nonviolent and consistent. Assuredly, you will have to set rules and boundaries for the boy. But you and your husband should seek family counseling to help you during this learning process of raising your brother.