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DEAR HARRIETTE: A good friend of mine is having a baby, yet he still lives at home with his parents. He expects me and our other mutual friends to be happy for him, but from a practical standpoint, I don’t understand how I should feel anything but worried. I have many questions, but I am uncomfortable asking them because I don’t want him to know how concerned I really am. Is it wrong for me to tell him I’m worried? — Very Worried
DEAR VERY WORRIED: Having a baby is a huge responsibility. You are right to be concerned about your friend’s readiness to care for a child when he currently is not independent of his own parents. Yes, you should talk to him. Chances are that the pregnancy wasn’t planned. That he and his partner have decided to keep the baby is a blessing, but that’s only the start. They must plan and figure out a path forward for their family. I can only imag- ine that his parents are wor- ried sick about what’s next, even as they want to support him.
Go talk to him. Ask him what his plans are for his budding family. Does he plan to live with the baby’s mother? Have they talked about how he can help with the baby — financially, psycho- logically, physically? Does he plan on being present as the baby grows up? Where would that take place? Get him to talk about his thoughts and feelings and strategy for caring for a child.
DEAR HARRIETTE: When my older sister was a child, she was violated by a friend of our dad’s. This was decades ago, and my sister is now in her 30s. I recently found the social media page of the man who did that to her. I wasn’t born yet when it happened, but my sister is still traumatized. I’ve watched her struggle in her dating life because of the suffering this man caused. From social media alone, I can tell where her abuser works and lives, and I can even see his family members’ social media accounts. I’m afraid that because she has not confronted him, other kids are at risk — he has young grandchildren. Seeing as though I don’t have any hard evidence that the man molested my sister so many years ago, how should I go about dealing with him? — Confronting Abuser
DEAR CONFRONTING ABUSER: You should not do anything. Unless your sister is ready to confront her abuser, you should not bring him back into her life. That could make it harder for her to cope. Since you know about the abuse, I assume your sister told you.
Suggest that your sister go to therapy to talk about what happened to her and how the trauma has left lingering side effects. Ask her if she would be interested in confronting him about what he did to her. Though the statute of limitations may have run out on taking him to trial, she may be able to have him investigated and exposed for his previous wrongdoing. That alone could raise awareness within his own family of his heinous behav- ior. There’s little you can do alone as you are going completely on hearsay.
To learn about statutes of limitations in you state, go to rainn.org/state-state-guide- statutes-limitations.
Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAM- LEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to [email protected] m or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.