Dear Savvy Auntie,

Any suggestions on how to deal with my sister's new husband and his mother who think it's acceptable to punish my nephew by cancelling his visits with me, sometimes at the moment of pickup?

His step-brother and sister still get to go to their mother's house every other weekend, but my weekends with him are revoked at the last minute as a punishment. My sister asks that I not discuss this situation directly with them, says she is handling it and it's a minefield.

My nephew needs time out of that house, away from their harsh contempt of him. I have zero control over the situation. I can only hope to come up with the right argument to feed my sister so she's ready the next time they try to do this to him. Any inspiration? (They are not swayed by the argument that it's only fair or that it's good for him.)

Cancelled Auntie

Dear Cancelled Auntie,

It seems like a very mean spirited punishment as you tell it. It also seems ridiculous of your sister and new brother-in-law as they then have to tend to your nephew... it doesn't make sense.

A good consequence for a misbehaving child is a consequence in time and in kind. An example of this is he writes on the walls - he must clean the wall. Or, if he is older and doesn't clean his room, he must clean at least part of it. If the "crime" is against a member of the family he must make amends to them.

You have my sympathy for not being with your nephew, particularly at the last minute. I can only imagine how badly he feels in these situations.

Good luck,
Natalie Robinson Garfield

Homepage Photo: l i g h t p o e t
Published: January 11, 2017

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