Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Little Brother Going Through Money Problems

DEAR HARRIETTE: I am a 49-year-old mother of five. My eldest recently married her high school sweetheart, and we love him dearly. After years of knowing him, I've picked up on the drinking habits that he has acquired as a young man. I know that multiple members in his family have alcoholism, and I feel as though I'm starting to see him develop it as well. I’m worried for my daughter; she picks up on it but does not want to confront him about it. Do you think it would be inappropriate of me to say something to either of them? -- Worried About Son-in-Law, Dayton, Ohio

DEAR WORRIED ABOUT SON-IN-LAW: This is a hard situation to manage, but it is important to sound a warning when it is obvious to you. You may want to speak with them individually first. Start with your daughter, and point out what you have witnessed and that you are concerned. Ask her if she has discussed this with her husband. Tell her you intend to speak to him.

Pick a sober moment to talk to your son-in-law. Tell him how much you love him and that you are worried about his well-being. Remind him of specific incidents when you have been concerned about his drinking. Suggest that he get help. He can start with Alcoholics Anonymous. Your daughter can visit Al-Anon for support of families of alcoholics. With help, they may be able to wrestle down this addiction.

Your daughter and son-in-law may both get angry with you, but you have to give it a try.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)