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Ex-etiquette: Son doesn't want to see ex; what should I do?

Parents / Family Living /

Q. My ex and I have been divorced for 10 years, and we share equal custody of our three sons. Our oldest son, 15, and his father recently had a fight, and my son refuses to speak to him and no longer wants to go back and forth between homes. His father has called me and told me to make our son talk to him. His father is a jerk, and I ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Time to volunteer and take the kids

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: I have to admit that my wife and I have been a bit self-centered in our adult lives, focusing on our work, earning money and supporting the family. We've done quite well financially, and we've both decided that we should start giving something back to our community. We want to get our kids involved, too, but they're pretty young ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Second wife peeved that Mom still included in family events

Parents / Family Living /

Q. I just finished reading your book "Ex-Etiquette for Parents." Kudos for this clear and concise guide to etiquette for blended families and showing how it can be done!

Having been a bonusmom for 18 years now, I was proud to read that we did many things "right" in terms of co-parenting. My husband and ex-wife did not communicate or work ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Dad worried that son plays with dolls

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: I'm worried about my eight-year-old son. He loves sports and does a lot of "boy" things, but sometimes I find him playing with dolls. Does this mean he's gay? Is there a way to tell this early on? And if he is gay, what should we do?

A: Whew, that's a lot of questions, so let's dive right in. Boys play with dolls all the time -- ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Morning sickness knows no hours

Parents / Family Living /

Mr. Dad: My girlfriend is about a month pregnant -- her second baby but my first. I'm concerned because she's nauseated and vomiting all day long. She calls it "morning sickness" and says she had the same thing with her first baby and that it's normal. But doesn't the name imply that the problems should be limited to the morning? Either way, ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: What to tell 'Dad' when fling leads to pregnancy

Parents / Family Living /

Q. About two months ago I met a guy in an airport bar on my way across the country. We had a great evening, exchanged phone numbers afterwards and went our separate ways. Here's the problem: I'm pregnant -- and I've decided to keep my baby. Here's the question: Do I have to tell him? I don't want anything from him. I do quite well financially ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Kids want to be with both moms on Mother's Day

Parents / Family Living /

Q. My husband and his ex-wife have a pretty healthy relationship. I have been with him for five years and we've all worked pretty hard at it. Our collective kids, now all teenagers, are very close and regard each other as siblings. As a result, we are now faced with something new. MY kids want to include HER in our Mother's Day celebration. My ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Keeping close with long-distance parenting

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: My ex and I share custody of our son (age 6), but because we live a few hundred miles apart, I sometimes don't get to see him for a few weeks. My wife was the one who moved away after we broke up. In between, I really miss him and I worry that he'll forget who I am or won't want to see me when we finally get together. I sometimes ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Dad lets new woman sleep over when kids are there

Parents / Family Living /

Q. My ex and I split up about six months ago. We were married for 10 years and share custody. Last week the kids came home from his house and told me, "Daddy had a woman spend the night." I was horrified! I didn't think he would ever do that! What do I do?

A. You think you know your ex because you lived with him or her for a number of years, ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Why you should wrestle with your daughter

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: I've got twins -- one girl, one boy -- and we love wrestling together. I always thought I was treating them the same, but a few days ago, my wife told me that she's thinks I play very differently with them -- very physically with my son and much more gentle with my daughter. I started paying attention and I have to admit that she...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Babies can sometimes bring out the worst in us

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: I'm a new dad, and I sometimes get incredibly angry when my son cries. Of course, I haven't acted on my anger, but I'm feeling really guilty that I get so mad in the first place. I've always been a pretty patient guy, but I don't think I've ever had such intense feelings before. Am I a bad parent?

A: Babies have an amazing ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Plan child exchanges so ex can avoid new boyfriend

Parents / Family Living /

Q. My ex and I live an hour away from each other. We've been broken-up for two months, and we are attempting to share our three-year-old daughter. My ex doesn't want my new boyfriend at the exchanges -- we actually started seeing each other before I moved out -- but my boyfriend is the only one with a driver's license. I don't know how to pick...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: How to handle stress of going back to work too soon

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: My husband and I just had a baby two months ago. I've been off work under the Family Leave Act until now and would like to take the remaining 4 or 5 weeks. But, unfortunately, we really need my salary to make ends meet. The prospect of leaving my baby (my husband needs to work full-time, too) is making me miserable. I'm feeling ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Don't let ex's new girlfriend get to you

Parents / Family Living /

Q: I recently broke up with a guy I lived with for four years. I stayed in the house because my grandmother left it to me, and he moved in with a friend. We live in a very small town, and I wish he would move, but he says he won't, so I'm stuck seeing him everywhere. The biggest problem is that his new girlfriend says nasty things about me, and ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Gen-X grandparents? Join the club

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: My 24-year old son and his wife are expecting their first baby in a few weeks. I'm really happy for him, and I'm looking forward to meeting my new granddaughter. The problem is that I'm not even 50 yet, and I can't wrap my head around the fact that I'm going to be a grandfather. I take good care of myself, look pretty good for my ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Stepmom shouldn't rush involvement in kids' school activities

Parents / Family Living /

Six months ago I married a man who shares equal custody of his two children with their mother. I am happy to say I get along well with the kids, and they love me to go to their recitals, Open House and Parent Teacher conferences. I have read your column for years, so their dad and I are always careful to tell their mother in advance when I ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Caught with your pants down, literally

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: I'm a single dad and have been going out with a wonderful woman for quite a while. She sometimes spends the night, but last time, my 8-year-old daughter walked in on us while we were making love. I don't think she was there very long, but she was crying and seemed frightened by the whole thing, and my girlfriend didn't take it too ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Whose homework are you doing?

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: I'm an involved dad, and I often help my kids with their homework. Sometimes, in the interests of speeding things along, I give them the answers. Over the past year, both kids (11 and 9) are coming to me more and more often, asking for help even when I know they don't need it. I tell them to figure it out, they whine, and ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Need for payback (via cheaper gas) is a huge red flag

Parents / Family Living /

Q. My ex and I broke up about a year and a half ago. He had been running around for years and I finally got sick of it and left. But, I've found my own little secret way of paying him back. He kept the old phone number that was tied to gas discounts at our local supermarket. Every so often I sign in and use his gas reward. He doesn't know and I ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: My baby doesn't like me

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: My two-month-old baby doesn't like me. He's perfectly content with my wife, but when I try to hold him, he gets upset and cries. I've backed off a little, thinking that he just needs a little time to get used to me, but that doesn't seem to be working. I'm starting to think I'm just not a very good dad. Is it too late for me to ...Read more

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