Dear Annie: How do I get my husband to stop lending his brother money?
Dear Anne: My brother-in-law keeps borrowing money and my husband just can’t say no to his big brother. It wouldn’t be a problem if we were Rockefeller. Were not. We both work full time. We have our own children to put in school. We barely manage and even have debts. We are simply not in a position to lend money.
Larry, my brother-in-law, seems to have a new career every year. This year, he’s trying to get his real estate license. Last year he launched an online store, which never took off. In the past, he dabbled in photography and painting.
It’s hard to watch him fail, and I’d feel sorry for him if I wasn’t so pissed that he threw thousands of dollars down the drain with each of these new ventures.
And now I find out that behind my back, my husband co-signed a loan, which his brother didn’t repay, and we had to take out a second mortgage on the house to pay it off. How do I get my husband to stop giving her money? How can I stop resenting my brother-in-law and his wife for this? – Broken and Bitter
Dear Broke: You are right. He is wrong. But you probably married him because you fell in love with his generous disposition and his desire and willingness to help others in need – qualities at play here. Acknowledge their big heart while telling them that making such decisions behind your back is unacceptable. Tell him that continuing to do so would be a betrayal of your trust.
Encourage him to support his brother in a way that doesn’t affect your finances. He could help Larry work out a budget or set realistic career goals. In the long run, this kind of help is better than just handing him a check every time he gets into trouble. Teach a man to fish.
Dear Anne: The administrators at my 10 year old son’s school are nosy and won’t stay out of our business. I think they mean well, but sometimes they try to micromanage our child’s care. For example, his favorite pair of shoes falls apart, and although he has new shoes, he prefers the old ones. The school sent a pair of shoes home, as if we couldn’t afford to buy them. It seemed insulting and passive-aggressive, and my son liked these shoes even less than the new ones we bought him. So it was a mess.
Also, our son recently had a cut that became infected. The school nurse spotted the start of the infection, so we are grateful for that, although we are also watching her closely. We took him in immediately and started treatment. The school sent notes home saying where we could take her in case we couldn’t afford a doctor. (We can and have never hinted that we didn’t have the means or the insurance.) The administrators even sent instructions on how to give her a bath using Epsom salt for the wound. They know we’re both professionals with advanced degrees, but they treat us like nimrods. — Capable with a bear cub
Dear Capable: Unless the school addresses the note to “Mr. and Mrs. Nimrod,” you jump to conclusions. I guarantee the admins were just trying to help.
Your son really should not wear shoes that disintegrate – whatever he “prefers”. A 10-year-old might prefer to eat pizza three meals a day and play Xbox all night; it does not mean that you leave it.
We make concessions where we can as parents, but some issues are not up for debate. Make sure your son wears the new shoes, no matter the whining that ensues. (I know, I know. Easier said than done.) Sometimes cubs need some tough love.
Dear readers, today’s column was originally published in 2016.
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