Home & Leisure

Ask Mr. Dad: What price raising a material girl?

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: My 12-year old daughter has become obsessed with designer labels. Basic Levis and generic shoes aren't good enough anymore. And if I so much as mention the word "Walmart," she won't even speak to me. What is going on with her? I find her materialism revolting. Is there anything I can do to stop it?

A: It's pretty obvious that ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Kid-friendly tips for divorced parents over the holidays

Parents / Family Living /

Q: I read your column every week and my ex and I do pretty well co-parenting the kids. I try to follow the rules you suggest because they are logical and are kid focused. It seems you advocate spending the holidays together. We never have and I'm not so sure I want to. The kids have accepted alternating years. So are we failing miserably ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: How to talk about religious terrorism

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: What happened in Paris last week has me shocked, upset and frightened. The death and destruction are hard enough for my wife and me to grasp and to explain to our children, ages 7 and 10. But it's getting increasingly difficult to answer their questions about Islam and to keep them from demonizing Muslims. We tried avoiding the ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Make new plans if it's your first holiday alone

Parents / Family Living /

Q. I was with my ex for about five years. The last few years were sort of rocky, and we have finally decided to break-up. I have a daughter from a previous relationship who's with her dad this year. This is the first Thanksgiving I am completely alone. My parents live on the other side of the country. I can't afford to fly. I'm all by myself ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Unmarried dads have rights, too

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: My girlfriend is pregnant, and we're having some major relationship problems. I don't think we're going to make it. I've been very open about wanting to be a big part of our child's life no matter what, but she has already started excluding me. She doesn't tell me when her doctor visits are and refuses to take a labor and ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Upset that ex's new wife responds to emails about kids

Parents / Family Living /

Q. My ex and I share equal custody of our two children -- a-week with me and a week with him. The courts require us to use email as our only source of communication. For some time I have suspected it was his new wife at the other end of the email -- not my ex -- but now she doesn't even try to hide it and signs her name. Why must I now conform...Read more

Ex-etiquette: How and when to break up as holidays approach

Parents / Family Living /

Q. I'm done with my boyfriend, but with the holidays around the corner, I hesitate to break up now. How do you break up using good ex-etiquette?

Practicing good ex-etiquette is pretty easy if you think about it. You start with being honest. (Ex-etiquette rule #8, "Be honest and straight forward.") You make your boundaries clear, and you don't...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: The truth about 'lying, cheating' at age 6

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: My six-year-old daughter has suddenly begun telling lies -- right to my face -- and she's started cheating at games, too. My wife and I can't figure out where this is coming from. We're a very religious family, and we see lying and cheating as serious moral flaws. What can we do to stop our daughter's behavior?

A: Unfortunately, ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Dad she hasn't seen for years suddenly wants to meet on Father's Day

Parents / Family Living /

Q. I haven't seen my father in over 10 years. He is an alcoholic and he left my mother and me when I was 9. For some reason that is beyond my comprehension, he has contacted my mother and would like to see me this Father's Day. I have very bad memories of his rants, and I do not want to see him -- ever! My mother says I am an adult and she ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Getting ready to roll(er coaster)

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: My husband and I are going to Orlando to visit some theme parks with our kids, ages 4 and 8. We're all super excited, but I'm worried about how to make sure the kids have a good time and the adults still feel that we've had a vacation. Any suggestions?

A: I am so jealous. My 12-year old daughter and I love roller coasters and ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Spanking gets results but all the wrong kinds

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: I was over at a friend's house and was surprised to see her spanking her 4-year old. I've never hit any of my kids and don't have any plans to do so. But after taking an informal poll of other parents I know, I was surprised to find that I'm actually in the minority. Should I rethink my no-spanking policy?

A: Please don't. There's...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Bickering over weekend custody obligations can only hurt child

Parents / Family Living /

Q. My ex and I have a five-year-old-child. I have custody. Ex has visitation every other weekend. Ex is very uncooperative and antagonistic and has forbidden me to be around on his time, so that means I can't attend any of child's games when he is with his dad. With this in mind, if our child goes to a game or birthday party on ex's weekend, ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: It's time to make time for family time

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: I hear people talking about how important it is to spend "quality time" with the family. I've got a couple of teenagers and a precocious 12-year old, and it's practically impossible to find an activity that everyone in the family will enjoy. Plus, with two adults and three children all on different schedules, it's even more ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Give your kids a treat; don't squabble over Halloween costumes

Parents / Family Living /

Q. My ex and I share custody of our daughters, ages 4 and 6. We split the week. I bought our daughters great Halloween costumes this year -- Disney Princesses -- and they are stoked, but Halloween is assigned to mom this year, and she won't use the costumes I bought. She told me to just keep them at my house. The kids are very upset. What's ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Should ex include her on Halloween Disneyland trip with kids?

Parents / Family Living /

Q. Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, but since I've broken up with the kids' dad, I hate when October rolls around. I've been letting their dad go trick-or-treating with us for the last two years (we altered the parenting plan for that day only), but this year he's taking them to Disneyland over the weekend and I won't see them. I'm so ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Dad can't wash his hands of preteen's hygiene issue

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: My 12-year-old daughter won't shower, she won't brush her teeth, and she wears the same clothes every day -- and sometimes even sleeps in them. Honestly, she's not very pleasant to be around. Is this normal? Either way, how can I motivate her to be a little cleaner?

A: This probably won't help you feel any better -- and it ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Supporting Mr. New Guy

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: I just heard that my ex-wife is moving in with her boyfriend. We've been divorced for nearly two years and she wasn't cheating on me, but I'm furious. Plus, I'm worried about how this is going to affect my kids and my relationship with them. Why am I so upset, and what do you suggest that I do?

A: Discovering that your former wife...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Dad balks at daughter's request that stepdad also walk her down the aisle

Parents / Family Living /

Q. Although my parents divorced when I was very young and I lived mostly with my mom, I've always been very close to my dad. My mom remarried when I was seven, and I am also very close to my bonusdad. I'm getting married in three months and would like them both to walk me down the aisle, but my dad says, "Over his dead body!" I don't know what ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Stepdaughter's actions far more than a Facebook snub

Parents / Family Living /

Q: Every so often Facebook sends me a suggestion for "friends" -- "People you might know." I saw my stepdaughter's name and visited her page. It's filled with pictures of the family, my husband included, but none of me. I reached out and asked to be a friend -- thinking I could keep up on Facebook. This was a week ago. I saw her yesterday and ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Is my baby anti-social?

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: My 7-month old baby is happy and playful when he's at home. But when I take him to my new dads' group (yes, that's a real thing), he seems to have zero interest in interacting with the other kids. The same thing happens at the park or anywhere else where there are other babies. I'm worried that there's something wrong with him or ...Read more

Social Connections


Take It From The Tinkersons Ask Shagg Cul de Sac Herb and Jamaal Chip Bok Clay Bennett