DEAR HARRIETTE: My sister puts her fiance before her kids. I am not married, so I do not want to judge a situation that I am not in, but I feel as though my nieces and nephews are being slighted. They are not getting enough attention from their mother. She often gives them up to family or finds a baby sitter in order to hang out with her man as much as she can. Even on important holidays, I find out that she is not with her kids and is instead spending time with him. This makes me so upset to see because I fear eventually this will have a negative effect on them. I don't want to blow up the situation, but I do want to help. -- Absentee Mom
DEAR ABSENTEE MOM: Do your best to get your sister to sit down alone with you. Express your concerns about her children and the family’s future. Yes, it’s great that she has found someone she loves. But remind her that if this man is to become part of the family, they need to work together to build the family unit. That means she should be creating opportunities for her fiance to interact with her and the children as well as with the children on his own. It is unlikely that the marriage will be successful if he doesn’t become part of the whole family. Otherwise, the children will suffer. Actually, everyone will.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to email@example.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)