Family ties stronger than ever

Even with all the slings and arrows of modern living, family loyalty stays true -- and even seems to be growing stronger. (Tribune photo illustration / January 17, 2012)

Is your relative causing ongoing harm to innocent third parties?

Is the relative causing ongoing harm to you?

In the case of Madoff, Scales notes, there was harm "caused to all kinds of people on an ongoing basis — these people are being defrauded and losing their life's savings."

"You can't allow (someone) to do that — even if it's your dad."

Ranking the relatives

Is there a pecking order of closeness? Details of a Pew Research Center survey show the percentage who said they felt "very obligated" to provide needed financial assistance or caregiving to their:

Parent: 83 percent

Grown child: 77 percent

Grandparent: 67 percent

Brother or sister: 64 percent

Spouse or partner's parent: 62 percent

Grown stepchild: 60 percent

Stepparent: 55 percent

Step- or half-sibling: 43 percent

Source: "Families Drawn Together by Communication Revolution," 2006 Pew Research Center study