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Ask Amy

Wednesday, March 17, 2010; 12:00 AM

DEAR AMY: My husband's brother "Jim" recently passed away. He was the historian of the family and loved genealogy. He was the agreed-upon keeper of all the family photos.

My husband would like to ask Jim's wife to allow the rest of the siblings to go through their family pictures and split them up so that each family has pictures for their children and grandchildren.

We know that you never get over the loss of a spouse, and my husband does not want to do this until Jim's widow can handle it.

He doesn't want to create any more sadness for her, and it may be an issue for his nephew, "Brad." He doesn't know the best way to word it. You often supply the words for a situation and it is always so caring. Could you do that here?

When do you feel that this would be an appropriate request? -- Worried Wife

DEAR WORRIED: No one should speak to this grieving spouse about this issue for several months, unless she brings up the topic or unless your husband has reason to believe that the family photos will leave the family or be destroyed.

Your husband could offer to take over this task, but he shouldn't approach his sister-in-law using words that would make her think this collection is being taken from her and split up among other family members.

Instead, he should emphasize that the collection will be copied and shared among all family members (including her and her son).

Technology has made this much easier. The photos could all be scanned, copied and presented to family members digitally -- leaving individuals with the choice of what they want to print and keep for themselves.

Your husband could broach this by saying, "I'd like to continue the genealogy work that 'Jim' started. It was a wonderful legacy I'd like to keep going. I could take on this task alone or do this along with you and 'Brad' if you're interested." Working on this family project together could be a great way for your husband to stay connected with his nephew.

DEAR AMY: When we sat down to dinner with my kids and some of their friends -- all 9- and 10-year-olds -- one of the boys mentioned that he had seen "The Hangover" multiple times at home.

What do you think of parents who allow their kids to watch very inappropriate movies? My only thought is that they are actually tired of parenting and just don't bother to try.

This is a great way to have their kids grow up faster and say things that are inappropriate to their friends. -- Toni

DEAR TONI: This presents a "teachable moment" for your kids and their friends.

When other kids mention that they've been allowed to see or do something you don't allow in your family, you can say, "Well, that's an R-rated movie. R-rated means it's really for grown-ups, not kids." I agree with you that "The Hangover" is highly inappropriate for children.

I don't know why parents aren't more careful with the media their children consume, but your primary interest should be toward creating and maintaining the ethic and atmosphere in your own home.

Nell Minow ("The Movie Mom") is my favorite arbiter of what media are appropriate for kids. Her television and movie reviews can be found on blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom.

DEAR AMY: "Super Bowl Awkward" wrote because her boyfriend's friends didn't interact with her at a Super Bowl party.

I think her boyfriend gave an impersonal introduction with, "Gang, this is Diana." He's to blame. He should have waited until there was a lull, then made eye contact with his good friend and said, "Ed, I want you to meet Diana." After they said hello, then he could look at the others and say, "That's Phil, Ernie, etc." -- Steve

DEAR STEVE: I agree with you, though "Awkward" could also have been more assertively friendly.

(Send questions via e-mail to askamy@tribune.com or by mail to Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60611. Amy Dickinson's memoir, "The Mighty Queens of Freeville: A Mother, a Daughter and the Town that Raised Them" (Hyperion), is available in bookstores.)

(C)2010 BY THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.

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