DEAR ABBY: My stepson just turned 7. My husband was granted custody because the mother was declared unfit due to her drug abuse. She was granted supervised visits until she can pass two consecutive drug tests.
Over the last year and a half, her visits have become few and far between. My husband and I think it would be a good idea for "Tony" to start seeing a therapist again. He doesn't talk about his mother often, and I'm worried he may be bottling up a lot of his feelings.
Tony is starting to ask more questions about his mom -- like why he can't stay the night with her, why he can't live with her, and why he hasn't seen her much lately. I try not to say anything negative about her.
Is it time to explain the situation to him? He is still so young, and I don't know how to explain things in a way he would understand. If you were me, what would you do? -- STEPMOM IN ALABAMA
DEAR STEPMOM: You and your husband are wise to want to prevent problems before they happen. If I were in your situation, I would talk to Tony's therapist, explain what's going on, and ask for pointers regarding his questions and his behavior.
My instinct would be to tell the boy that his mother doesn't see him because she is sick. It's the truth. When he's older, he will need to know that there may be an inherited predisposition to addiction in his family -- but for now that can wait. Definitely contact the therapist if you think he/she was a good one.