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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

Ex-etiquette: New wife wants to vacation with her kids only

Parents / Family Living /

Q. I recently got divorced and my ex-wife has custody of our three children. I remarried a woman who has custody of her three children. Living with the three stepchildren has been a difficult transition. It has been difficult for me to deal with fathering my biological children at a distance. They do come over every other weekend, and my wife ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Idle threats ultimately doom discipline

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: My wife and I have a 4-year-old daughter who always seems to be in motion, and she's not terribly good at following directions. A few weeks ago we were out shopping at the mall, and she was running around all over the place. She wasn't really causing too much trouble, but it was pretty crowded and my wife was getting frustrated. ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Should 'visiting' son do chores at their home?

Parents / Family Living /

Q.: My husband resents that I expect his son who visits on breaks and in the summer to pull his weight around the house just like my kids, who live here full time. I recently asked my stepson, age 14, to wash his towels after he showers. He throws them in the corner of the bathroom and they sit there for days. His father overheard me and ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Hey, we were born that way

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: We have a two boys, ages 6 and 4. We've tried hard to raise them the same way, but they're completely different. The older one is generally pretty calm and cheerful, but the younger one is wild, noisy and impossible to discipline. How could two kids raised in the same house by the same parents be such polar opposites?

A: You may ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: The story of your life is your legacy

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: My father died when he was 48. He was a great dad, affectionate, playful, and a fine role model. And he had life insurance, so the family was provided for. But when my brother and sister and I were going through his stuff after the funeral, we realized that we barely knew him. He was always interested in our lives, but almost never...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Some notes on the so-called 'Mozart Effect'

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: I've got two children, ages 1 and 3 and I've heard that it's possible to boost their IQ by exposing them to certain kinds of music. My wife says I'm crazy. Is there any possibility that she's right?

A: What you're talking about is the "Mozart Effect" -- the popular idea that listening to music by Mozart would make children smarter...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Economic recovery? Not around here

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: I lost my job more than a year ago and have been unable to find another. My wife works part time, but doesn't bring in nearly enough to cover our expenses. We have no health insurance, burned through the little savings we had trying to stay current on our mortgage and other bills. Now we're faced with having to take money out of ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Son's drastic changes demand action

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: My son is a freshman in high school, and until the beginning of this school year, he was a happy kid, with lots of friends and plenty of extracurricular activities. But over the past few months, he's changed. He's lost a bunch of weight, is sullen most of the time, and has taken to wrapping himself up in an oversized, floppy hoodie...Read more


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