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Dear Abby: Granddaughter with sticky fingers is caught in the act

Dear Abby: I caught my 12-year-old granddaughter stealing. She took one of my favorite hair products, which isn’t a big deal, but I’m torn over how to approach her and if I should inform her parents. There was another possible theft once before when some makeup disappeared. I dismissed it, but now I have concerns.

How should I handle this? I love her unconditionally, but this needs to be addressed and I don’t know how.

–Alarmed In Rhode Island

Dear Alarmed: Tell your granddaughter that you enjoy having her visit, but you noticed that several items had disappeared after she stayed with you. Ask her if she took them. Regardless of how she responds, tell her that if she wants to use something of yours, before she does, she should ask permission. If it happens after that, discuss it with her parents then.

Clarify boyfriend’s position

Dear Abby: My brother is a recovering heroin addict. He stayed clean for almost a year until a few months ago, when he relapsed. He hasn’t used again since his slip and continues to go to outpatient treatment.

My boyfriend, whom I recently moved in with, doesn’t want him to come to the house. He says it’s to protect “his nest,” and I understand why. I have tried talking with him about it because I feel that I can’t have any other family members over, but that doesn’t seem to matter to him. My brother heard he isn’t welcome and I feel absolutely terrible.

I’m not sure how to rectify the situation. Part of me wonders if his feelings are justified, and perhaps I have been too accepting of all the grief my brother has caused my family and me.

– Sad Sister In Ohio

Dear Sad Sister: If your brother has stolen from the family in order to feed his habit, your boyfriend has a valid point in not wanting him in the house. His reaction is intelligent. However, the ban should not extend to your entire family, and this is something you need to clarify. If your boyfriend’s objective is to isolate you from all of your relatives, it’s a red flag that shouldn’t be ignored.