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Ask Mr. Dad: Is it OK to defend your family with martial arts?

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: Every day there's a story in the news about violence -- whether it's a terrorist, a mass shooter, or some other nut job. I feel bad for the victims of this violence, but I'm also feeling extremely helpless. I'm thinking about signing all of us up for some kind of martial arts lessons but I don't want to teach my kids to be violent....Read more

Ex-etiquette: A heartfelt farewell to daughter's father

Parents / Family Living /

My daughter's father recently passed away after a courageous fight with cancer and I would like to deviate from my normal format and dedicate this week's column to him.

Although I've had years of education and work with divorced parents every day, most of the advice I give and what I have found really works comes from living it -- and working ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: She ain't heavy, she's my sister

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: This may seem like a very basic question, but what can I do to help my overweight 13-year-old twin daughters lose weight? It's not that they eat a lot of junk food -- they actually eat pretty well. The problem is that they consume huge portions and then have seconds and thirds. I've talked to them about how many calories and how ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Preventing concussions is a real no-brainer

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: My kids (7, 10, and 12) are excited to sign up for sports in a few weeks, but with all the talk about concussions, I'm more than a little concerned. Plus, I just saw the Will Smith movie, "Concussion," which scared me even more. Short of not allowing them to play at all, is there anything I can do to lower the risk that my kids ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: It's not good form to hang out alone with ex's friends

Parents / Family Living /

Q: My ex and I live in a small town and we used to ride motorcycles on the weekends with a group of his friends and their wives. I love to ride and have my own bike. These people are now my best friends and now that my ex and I have broken up I have no one to ride with. It's really gotten me down. Recently a couple of the guys invited me to go ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: It's all a matter of religion

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: I'm Jewish but my wife, who is seven months pregnant, isn't, which I know means that, technically, our baby won't be either. We've agreed to raise our child as a Jew, but will we have to convert her?

A: Wow, you've certainly hit on a complicated topic. Unfortunately, there's no easy answer. Whether you have to convert your child ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Can you be godfather to your ex's new child?

Parents / Family Living /

Q: My ex and I have been co-parenting our kids for the last three years. About a year ago she married a guy I really like and that has made things easier, believe it or not. Recently they both asked me to coffee, told me my ex was pregnant, and asked me to be their child's godfather. Sounds a little weird to me. What's good ex-etiquette?

A: ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Maybe I'm just not cut out to be a dad

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: I'm a new dad -- my son was born two months ago -- and although I hate to admit it, I'm not feeling much like a parent. My wife wants me to be as involved as she is, playing with, feeding, talking to, and changing the baby. But I'm honestly not that interested. I was perfectly happy with the way my life was before. As you can ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Shared custody requires meeting fiancé's ex

Parents / Family Living /

Q. My fiance and I have been living together for about a year. Our wedding date is coming up and because he shares custody of his two children, he would like me to meet his ex prior to the wedding. I'm not sure why it's necessary. I have nothing to say to her and have no idea what we could possibly talk about, but he's adamant. What's good ex-...Read more

Ex-etiquette: In shared custody, is it OK for daughter to talk (a lot) about the other parent?

Parents / Family Living /

Q: My ex says our seven-year-old daughter talks about me too much when she's with him and it makes him and his girlfriend uncomfortable. Our daughter talks about them a lot when she's with me too, but it doesn't bother me. We've had kind of an open ended custody agreement for years -- a few days with me, then a few days with dad. They want to ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Sorry, when it comes to parenting, orange isn't the new black

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: My girlfriend has had a drug problem since I've known her. She was clean while pregnant with our daughter, but started up again right after the birth. She was in and out of our daughter's life for the first two years, disappearing for long stretches of time, and spent the past two years in jail. Because of my ex's drug problem, I ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: SIDS, every new parent's greatest fear

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: A few years ago, my sister's three-month old infant died from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. My baby is now the same age, and I'm in a panic worrying that the same thing will happen to him. I'm not even sure I understand what SIDS is and what the risk factors are. More importantly, is there anything my wife and I can do to keep her ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Changes in both households could cause recent change in boys' behavior

Parents / Family Living /

Q. I have two boys. Their dad and I are divorced and we have both remarried -- their dad first, and me a couple of months ago. Their father has always had VERY inconsistent work hours and works a lot of overtime, and I think his schedule really affects the boys. As they get older they're becoming more disorganized and not doing as well in school...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Should ex exchange gifts with ex-in-laws?

Parents / Family Living /

Q: Although I never married my ex, we were together for seven years. I was very close to his family, particularly his mother since my mom died when I was a little girl. Each Christmas we congregated at their home and exchanged gifts. Now that my ex and I have broken up, he has forbidden his side of the family to talk to me. Is it still ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Grammar mistakes, part II: Which weigh do we go?

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: Last week you wrote about a number of grammar mistakes that you find annoying. Reading through your column, those mistakes didn't seem so bad. What's the big deal?

A: As I said last week, English is constantly evolving, and that's a wonderful thing. But no matter how much our language changes, we'll always have to use words to get...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Avoid Santa spoilers by asking older kids for help

Parents / Family Living /

Q. My fiance and I moved in together about nine months ago and this is our first Christmas together. Together we have four kids, ages 14, 13, 6 and 4. Mine are the younger ones who can't wait for Santa to visit on Christmas morning. I'm so afraid that the older ones will say something and I don't know how to handle it. What's good ex-etiquette? ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: That just ain't right

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: A few years ago, I read a column of yours that talked about grammar mistakes. I thought you were overreacting, but it seems to me that they're getting more and more common. What's worse, schools are contributing to the problem, sending out emails and newsletters that contain basic errors. If the schools can't get it right, how are ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Shopping for partner's ex with the bonus kids is your gift

Parents / Family Living /

Q. My husband works out of town. We share the kids with his ex and they continue to go back and forth between homes even when he's out of town. (We have young children and the older kids miss their siblings if they don't continue to see them on a regular basis.) Since my husband won't be home until Christmas Eve, he's asked me to take the kids ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Affection could end sex-starved dad's famine

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: I'm a new dad and love everything about fatherhood. But my marriage is fraying. Our baby's birth was uneventful and my wife's OB told us that we could have sex again after six weeks. He's eight months old now and my wife and I have had sex exactly one time since the birth. That's it. I've tried talking with her about this, and her ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: For happier holidays, agree to deviate from court-order error

Parents / Family Living /

Q. My ex and I split up about four months ago and when we did, we agreed to a holiday schedule for the kids. I was to have Thanksgiving this year and she was to have Christmas. When the court papers came in the mail, both holidays were assigned to my ex this year. She said we have to stick to the court order and would not allow me to see the ...Read more


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