DEAR ABBY: My son, a widower with two boys, ages 6 and 9, has just informed me that his 33-year-old girlfriend, "Karen," is pregnant and due in five months. He started seeing her three months after his wife died, and they have been an item for eight months. She has been staying at his house every weekend, and plans to move in with him soon.
Karen has never been married and has no children, so she will become a stepmom and a new mom in a short period of time. Neither my son nor Karen seems to realize how difficult it will be to bring a stepparent into this situation, especially with a new baby on the way. One of the boys will have to give up his bedroom when the baby arrives. I'm concerned that the boys will be overwhelmed by this, when they have not yet been able to effectively deal with the death of their mother. I think this relationship has moved too fast and they are clueless about how all this will affect the boys. My son has told me I need to "get over it, it's his life and his kids." Is there anything I can do to help the boys process all of this and adjust to the new situation? -- Wise Lady in the South
DEAR WISE LADY: Nowhere in your letter have you mentioned that the boys are depressed or acting out. They probably like Karen.
It appears that in trying to be helpful you may have come across as negative or judgmental.
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DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have been married 10 years. Half of his family are smokers. Every year, there has been a family gathering at his dad's house. Since the birth of my first child, smoking has become forbidden in that home.
This year, the party will be at the home of another where smoking will be permitted. I can't handle smoke. It gives me a sore throat and I cough for a week. Because of my reaction and for the health of my children, I don't want to attend.
My husband is adamant that we should attend and bring the kids. He was raised around smoking and doesn't see what the "big deal" is. Am I being unreasonable because it's only one night a year? -- Hater of Smoking
DEAR HATER OF SMOKING: I think so. Much as you might like, you can't raise your children in a bubble. I would hate to see you isolate your children from their aunts, uncles, cousins and any grandparents still alive during their once-a-year holiday celebration.
Dear Abby, written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069. © 2015 UNIVERSAL UCLICK.