Dear Amy:

My husband and I are attending a graduation party for my nephew. My daughter, who is 27, is still living with us. She is also going to this party.

Is she obligated to give a separate monetary gift to her cousin?

At what time in our life should we stop including our children as part of "our" gift?

I also have a son living with us who just graduated from college and another son who lives elsewhere.

- Confused

Dear Confused: Don't look for a specific protocol to cover every situation.

Depending on the occasion and your relationship to the person celebrating the occasion, you and your husband will want to give a gift and sign the card "From Aunt Bitsy and Uncle Bob and all your 'Smith' cousins." Sometimes you'll include your offspring, and sometimes you won't.

Your children can then separately choose to congratulate the person in their own way. I'd think that a 27-year-old would get a little embarrassed by having mom and dad handle all of life's occasions on her behalf.

You don't describe your daughter's situation, but if she's able, she should give her cousin a small gift. This doesn't have to be monetary; a card and a favorite book or a CD would be appropriate.

Dear Amy: I come from a family of seven. About six months ago, my sister "Janet" kicked four of her siblings, including me, out of her life.

Janet has two children, ages 15 and 18, whom I love dearly.

This summer I'm having a graduation party for my son and don't know what to do about inviting my niece and nephew.

Do I send an invitation with just their names on it? Or should I invite my sister as well, since she still seems to want to have a relationship with my children?

My son is fine with however I want to handle it, but I really can't decide what to do.

This party will be held at another sister's house (whom she also kicked out of her life) and she is fine with whatever I do.

I don't want drama on my son's special day!

- Confused Sis

Dear Confused: Your sister kicked you out of her life. But that doesn't mean you have to kick her out of yours.

You can't control her choices or behavior. You can only make your own choices, based on what you want.

Because you love her children and want to try to stay in their lives, you should invite them to this event. Because your sister is their mother and most likely controls their transportation and social calendar, you should include her, too.

Don't worry about drama. If you decide ahead of time to be cordial, kind, and focused on the celebration, your sister's attempts at theatrics won't find an audience.