Dear Amy

: Recently, my brother, who is 50 years old and has been married for 25 years, confessed to his wife that he had had an affair.

His wife was furious. I can completely understand this reaction. However, I can't understand why she felt it necessary to tell their five children (ages 13 to 22) the details.

My brother is a hardworking parent who holds down two jobs.

I know that he is still a good guy. No one is perfect. I would like to receive verification that my sister-in-law was wrong in revealing this information to these children.

- Wondering Sister

Dear Wondering: While I believe that children should be told a version of the truth about what is going on in their family, I agree with you that offering up details of a parent's infidelity falls into the category of "things the kids don't need to know."

If parents are having problems, then they can tell their children that they are having problems (their children no doubt notice this). If they're working to repair their relationship, then it's good for the kids to see that adults can work things out. Parents should never bad-mouth each other to their children or volunteer disturbing details about each other. Children pay the price when their parents don't respect the boundaries between adult behavior and a child's ability to perceive it.

While I appreciate your obvious loyalty to your brother, this is his mess, and he needs to clean it up.

You should do everything you can to support both of these parents - and your nieces and nephews - during this very challenging time. Not taking sides would be a good first step.

Dear Amy: I smiled as I read the letter from "Fed Up at the Kids Table," the 24-year-old who desired to sit at the "adult table" at family gatherings.

Overseen by our matriarch, my dear Nana, whom we lost in January just before her 92d birthday, our family's table configurations have remained unchanged through the years as cousin after cousin never got around to producing progeny.

The last time we gathered for a holiday dinner, it was the same old "kids" at the kids table - except that we're all pushing 50!

- Kathleen

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