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Daughter being put in the middle

Dear Abby: When my husband and I have a private argument, he shares our problems with our 11-year-old daughter. Later, she will tell me she sides with him about our argument.

I feel my husband should not involve our daughter in our disagreements. It makes me feel betrayed. How should I deal with this issue?

-- Violated in New Jersey

Dear Violated: You married a man who appears to be manipulative and not above using your daughter to "get to you." I agree he shouldn't discuss your disagreements with her -- not because it's a betrayal, but because it's unfair that she is being put in the middle.

Because there are problems the two of you can't resolve, they should be talked out with a licensed marriage counselor. If your husband refuses to go, you definitely should go without him.


Extended family woes

Dear Abby: We love our son-in-law, "Chip," but not his family. Family get-togethers are very strained because they drink -- a lot.

Chip's brother has given beer to his 3-year-old and no one says anything. Chip's brother is a know-it-all, sarcastic and rude. I am worried about my grandson spending any time with them. My daughter has also made her concerns known to Chip, but nothing changes. Should I stay out of this?

-- Teetotaling Grandma

Dear Grandma: Much as you might wish to, neither you nor your daughter is going to change the behavior of a belligerent drunk, which Chip's brother appears to be. Because alcohol impairs his judgment to the extent that he's giving liquor to his 3-year-old and the child's mother allows it, someone should contact child protective services and ask what can be done. I recommend that you do it soon, because giving alcohol to a minor is not only against the law, but could make the child sick or create a dependency.

As to your grandson, the boy should never be around his aunt and uncle unless there is strict supervision.