DEAR ABBY: My stepson just turned 7. My husband was granted custody because the mother was declared unfit due to her drug abuse. She was granted supervised visits until she can pass two consecutive drug tests.
Over the last year and a half, her visits have become few and far between. My husband and I think it would be a good idea for "Tony" to start seeing a therapist again. He doesn't talk about his mother often, and I'm worried he may be bottling up a lot of his feelings.
Tony is starting to ask more questions about his mom -- like why he can't stay the night with her, why he can't live with her, and why he hasn't seen her much lately. I try not to say anything negative about her.
Is it time to explain the situation to him? He is still so young, and I don't know how to explain things in a way he would understand. If you were me, what would you do? -- STEPMOM IN ALABAMA
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DEAR STEPMOM: You and your husband are wise to want to prevent problems before they happen. If I were in your situation, I would talk to Tony's therapist, explain what's going on, and ask for pointers regarding his questions and his behavior.
My instinct would be to tell the boy that his mother doesn't see him because she is sick. It's the truth. When he's older, he will need to know that there may be an inherited predisposition to addiction in his family -- but for now that can wait. Definitely contact the therapist if you think he/she was a good one.
DEAR ABBY: I used to be best friends with this girl I met in kindergarten. Over the years we became like sisters and did everything together. We played Barbies, went on adventures, shopping, saw movies and had sleepovers. As we grew older, we began trusting each other with our lives. I could tell her anything and everything, and I was there for her whenever she needed support or a shoulder to cry on.
However, now that we are older, we have slowly noticed small differences in our lives. She became focused on her studies and art. I joined the cheerleading squad and became interested in meeting new people. Our lives have diverged, and now it's like we have become complete strangers.
I want our friendship to go back to the way it was. What can I say or do to show her I miss the old her? -- CONFUSED EX-FRIEND
DEAR CONFUSED: As people mature, it is not uncommon for their interests to diverge. This is normal, and it may be what has happened with you and your longtime friend. If you miss the closeness you once had, tell her so. But do not expect it to magically return your relationship to what it was.
You are both sharing another adventure now -- exploring the interests and relationships you are developing as adults. It's possible that in the future your paths will converge again. When people are true friends, their ability to communicate on a meaningful level can last forever despite intervals when they are not in contact.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.