Should He Meddle?

Q: Should I tell my daughter-in-law that my son, her husband, is leaving? She is lazy and has been fired from all of her past jobs. She is not good at housekeeping or taking care of their child. She also feels that it is okay to party on weekends with her friends. I have reached out to her on several occasions, but she turns a deaf ear every time. I am having a hard time with what to do. Help. -- Sam, 62

Dr. Susan: Ah, Sam, that's the problem with being a loving onlooker to your grown kids' lives. There isn't a lot you CAN do. Your son needs to take charge here and do his best to get her into therapy or somehow get her to see what she's risking by her behavior. Partying with one's friends, without one's spouse, is often a bad choice, especially if partying involves drinking or other uninhibiting substances. I'd keep an eye out for the safety of your grandchild, but otherwise, I'd limit my reaching out to my son. He shouldn't just "leave," though. He needs to give her notice, consider what his part in all this may be, and, when the relationship proves genuinely hopeless, get good advice from a lawyer. Poor housekeeping, by the way, is hardly a major character flaw, while being a neglectful mother certainly is.

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