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Teen having unprotected sex causes concern for stepmom

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2012 11:30 a.m. CDT

DEAR ABBY: My 15-year-old stepson, "Justin," doesn't drink or do drugs. For the most part, he stays out of trouble. The problem is, he has been caught for the third time having unprotected sex.

My anger isn't at Justin so much as at his parents, obviously his father. Justin has lied repeatedly about this. His father lets him get away with many things, for the most part minor. But this is different. A 15-year-old boy can't take care of a baby, and having sex with multiple partners means exposing everyone involved to STDs.

My husband is a smart man, but for some reason he seems to think this will end well. I worry about his son becoming a father too soon and missing out on his full potential. My husband and his ex have dealt with this by trying to ignore it, and for the most part I haven't involved myself. But the more I think about it, the more I see the danger of Justin's life being changed forever because his parents don't want to make him unhappy for a minute.

I love my husband and stepson. Allowing this to continue isn't the right path for anyone. Am I overreacting? If not, what can I do that won't cause a huge blowup with my husband? — ALARMED IN CHICAGO

DEAR ALARMED: You're not overreacting. Your husband is doing his son no favors by enabling his irresponsible behavior instead of asserting himself and acting like a parent. Justin may think that fathering a child will make him a "real man." But unless your husband can get through to him that real men take care of themselves and their partners, and real men don't risk bringing children into the world they can't take care of, then face it: He's letting his son play baby roulette, and it's only a matter of time until he'll be a grandpa.

DEAR ABBY: My son has a wonderful girlfriend, "Michelle." They live with my ex-husband and visit my husband, "Daryl," and me twice a month and on special occasions. Michelle is sweet, caring, smart and funny. The problem is, she doesn't wear a bra. Ever.

Relatives have commented about it to us at family gatherings because she's not flat-chested. We already know. It's obvious. Daryl feels a woman should go without a bra only in the privacy of her own home, and I agree. He thinks I should buy Michelle a bra as a "subtle hint." I don't think that's wise, and I don't want to offend her.

Because it doesn't seem to matter to my son, should we continue to keep our opinions to ourselves? — SEES A NEED FOR SUPPORT IN FLORIDA

DEAR SEES A NEED: Because people are talking, it would be a kindness to say something to Michelle — but delicately, so she doesn't think you are criticizing her. If you have a good relationship with her, invite her to join you for lunch and, while you're on the subject of the last gathering, mention that some of the relatives noticed her bralessness. Then tell her that you need to go lingerie shopping and invite her along. Ask her to help you pick out a few pretty things for yourself, and then offer to treat her to some things she likes. She just may take you up on it.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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