Sis­ter wor­ries about in­clud­ing felon in hol­i­day

Simcoe Reformer - Times-Reformer - - SPORTS - AMY DICKINSON

Dear Amy: My youngest brother spent about six years in prison for kid­nap­ping and sex­u­ally as­sault­ing a young woman he met at a bar. While he was in prison, we ex­changed a few letters, but I did not go to visit him. He ex­pressed re­morse for what hap­pened, and was re­ceiv­ing coun­sel­ing in prison.

He was re­leased from prison ear­lier this year, and now lives about a 30-minute drive from where I live, so I’ve met him a few times for cof­fee or lunch. He now at­tends group ther­apy, and is in good stand­ing with his pro­ba­tion of­fi­cer.

The last time I saw him, he asked if he could spend the hol­i­days with me and my fam­ily. I was un­pre­pared to an­swer, and told him I would talk to my hus­band about it, know­ing that my hus­band would prob­a­bly have a prob­lem with it.

I am in­cred­i­bly un­com­fort­able with my brother be­ing in my house with my three teenage kids present — two of which are girls.

I don’t fully trust him yet, and while I be­lieve in for­give­ness, I am scared at the con­se­quences of hav­ing him in my house. And I also don’t want to be ner­vous the en­tire time he’s in our house, if we do in­vite him over, which would add more stress to the hol­i­days.

My hus­band said he will sup­port what­ever de­ci­sion I make, but I’m not sure what to do. What do you think? — WOR­RIED SIS­TER

Dear Wor­ried Sis­ter: Your brother might be­lieve that he is ready to en­ter your fam­ily cir­cle in this way, but you are not ready, and your in­stincts are telling you that this is not a good idea — and that’s the only thing that mat­ters.

You have been will­ing to have your brother in your life in a pro­tected, tan­gen­tial way, and I be­lieve that both your mo­ti­va­tions and your in­stincts are solid. Pay at­ten­tion to your in­stincts!

Given the se­ri­ous and vi­o­lent na­ture of his crime, and the fact that he is a sex of­fender, you should not expose your chil­dren to him un­less and un­til you feel com­pletely ready (and you might never feel ready).

I as­sume that con­tact with fam­ily mem­bers could help him rein­te­grate into life in a way that would be pos­i­tive for him, but all de­ci­sions con­cern­ing con­tact should be yours — not his — to make.

Don’t let the awk­ward­ness of say­ing “no” over­ride your parental in­stincts. Tell him, “I’m not ready to have you with us. We’ll just have to see how things go for you over time, and my hus­band and I will con­tinue to think about it.”

It would be good if both you and your hus­band could bring him a gift and spend a lit­tle time with him dur­ing the hol­i­day sea­son.

Dear Amy: I have a friend who has a full-time job, and has started selling cos­met­ics on the side.

I sup­port her right to pur­sue ad­di­tional in­come, but am ex­tremely un­com­fort­able with friends us­ing friends as a rev­enue stream.

I’ve no­ticed an uptick in her email com­mu­ni­ca­tions, and she al­ways in­cludes her web­site and other in­for­ma­tion about the cos­met­ics in the emails.

She has not asked me di­rectly to pur­chase any­thing or in­vited me to any sales “events,” but I an­tic­i­pate one/both hap­pen­ing soon.

How do I po­litely decline any sales pitches? — TUP­PER-WARY IN NJ

Dear Tup­per-wary: You can re­spond to sales en­treaties with an en­thu­si­as­tic, “No thanks, I’m all set — but con­grat­u­la­tions, and good luck with your busi­ness!” Don’t judge this woman for be­ing an en­tre­pre­neur, but def­i­nitely ex­er­cise your own right to spend your money the way you want to.

When I find my­self get­ting an­noyed by peo­ple try­ing to sell me things or ask­ing for fa­vors, I try to re­mem­ber that it’s not their fault if I feel bur­dened. Learn­ing to say a re­spect­ful “Sorry — but no” is hon­est and em­pow­er­ing.

Dear Amy: “Need Ad­vice” asked a very sen­si­ble question about how men can han­dle the bur­den of be­ing falsely ac­cused of sex­ual ha­rass­ment in the work­place. You ba­si­cally snapped back, even though this is a very valid question! — DIS­AP­POINTED READER

Dear Dis­ap­pointed: The man quoted in this let­ter de­scribed the bur­den of be­ing a “straight white male” in the work­place. I’m not aware that straight white males have an ex­tra bur­den. In my re­sponse I drew at­ten­tion to and praised the scores of male col­leagues I’ve had over four decades in the work­place who man­aged not to ha­rass — or be ac­cused of ha­rass­ment — sim­ply by be­hav­ing pro­fes­sion­ally.

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