Dear Mike and Nicole,

My husband and I are raising our 14-year-old nephew. I won't get into the details, other than saying his parents have not been in his life for the past 2 years. He's my husbands sisters son.
We don't have any children of our own together, so this is our first real go at parenting.

He has been staying out past curfew and not letting us know where he is. Our number one rule is that we always know where he is and that he answer his phone when we call or text him.

We sat down and explained our expectations and he said he understood. Saturday night, he was told to be home from his friends house by 9 p.m. The time came and went, and he didn't walk in until about 11:30 p.m. We were worried sick. He wasn't answering his phone or returning our text messages.

My husband was furious. He laid into him and has taken privileges away. I feel like he is being too hard on him. Yes, he needs to follow our rules, but I want him to put himself in his shoes and understand the pain he is probably feeling. I feel like we need to give him some space and if we are too hard on him, he will push us away even more.

What should we do? Tighten the reins or give him more space?



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