DEAR ABBY: I recently accepted the honor of raising my 10-year-old nephew, "Matt." I have a daughter, "Sierra," who is also 10. Sierra's father is being a jerk about my raising someone else's child. He claims that by having Matt in the house, I am "taking away" from our daughter. She calls him the brother she has always wanted.
Matt was in trouble in the past. He has issues because he has been passed around a lot. We're dealing with it as a family. Matt is getting used to the fact that I am not going to throw him away no matter what he does, and he's straightening up. He's a great kid.
What should I do about the fact that my daughter's dad won't stop with the "he has parents, let them raise him" remarks? If I send Matt back, I know he'll end up in jail. He's doing well here. I told Sierra's father to mind his own business and I will handle mine, but he's being hateful about it toward me and our daughter. I know you'll have something good for me, Abby. Please share. -- CONCERNED AUNT IN NORTH CAROLINA
DEAR CONCERNED AUNT: Nowhere in your letter did you refer to "the father of your daughter" as your husband. In this case, that may be a good thing. It implies that he is not under your roof spreading his poison.
In most relationships, one party is more dominant than the other. In your case, I hope the dominant party is you, because you must draw a line in the sand that Sierra's father can't cross. The price he will have to pay for having a relationship with you and your daughter will be that he can no longer bad-mouth your nephew or your choice to raise him.
I know this isn't a decision that can be made lightly, but the question you must answer is: In the scheme of things, which "man" in your life is more important to you?