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Ask Mr. Dad: Stepping into a blended family

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: I'm divorced and have three children from that marriage. I'm engaged to a great guy and we're very happy. The one trouble area is that he never seems quite comfortable around my kids (he doesn't have any of his own) and often tells me that he doesn't feel like he truly belongs. How can I help him feel like a real member of the ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Set clear boundaries for relationship with ex

Parents / Family Living /

Q: My ex has been diagnosed with bi-polar disorder and he's fine when he takes his meds, but when he doesn't, he's extremely unpredictable and he scares me a little. That's the reason we broke up -- I never knew what to expect. Lately he's been contacting me again with a lot of "remember whens" and I sort of feel like he's stalking me. I don't ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Congrats, Procter & Gamble, you've alienated half your customer base

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: During the last Olympics, you wrote about how Procter & Gamble's "Thank You, Mom" campaign ignores dads and their importance in their children's lives. I was hoping that they would have made some changes, but they're at it again. Why is this still going on?

A: I honestly wish I knew. Even my kids have been asking me why P&G never ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Frustrated with boyfriend's 2-year-old child

Parents / Family Living /

Q: My boyfriend has a two-year-old child and I have no kids of my own. Things started off wonderfully. She visits every Sunday and every other weekend she spends the night Saturday to Sunday. I love his child very much but there are sometimes I do not want her around. She can be very defiant and frustrating and insists on sleeping in our room. ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Single parents, go slowly when dating

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: I'm a divorced mom and am thinking about dipping my toes back into the dating world. My biggest concern is how my dating life will affect my children (ages 5 and 8), so I want to do this the right way. How long after a divorce should I wait? How long should I wait before letting my kids meet someone I'm going out with? And on the ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Infertility and adoption; sometimes bonding is hard

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: My wife and desperately want to be parents. But after years of trying and tens of thousands spent on fertility treatments, our doctor is telling us that we should either consider using donor sperm or eggs or adopt. We're considering those options, but I'm finding this whole thing rather emasculating and I'm worried about whether I'...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Spouse wants to date his 'ex'

Parents / Family Living /

Q: My husband of two years came home last week after a weekend away "with the guys" and told me he wanted to start dating -- specifically his ex. He doesn't want to break-up, he just wants to see his ex as well. They have two children, and I'm pregnant with our first. I'm really at a loss. What's good ex-etiquette?

A: Not this, and I vote for ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Fiancé too friendly with ex-in-laws

Parents / Family Living /

Q: I'm having a difficult time accepting the fact that my fiance still "hangs out" at his ex-mother-in-law's house when he picks his daughter up for visitation. I just recently found a video that his ex mother-in-law filmed of my fiance and his daughter playing in her pool together. When I confronted him about it his response was that his ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Two kids, night and day

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: We have two sons, almost exactly three years apart. The oldest was a dream child in almost every way, but his little brother is pretty much the exact opposite. My husband and I find this surprising, since we tried to do everything with our youngest exactly the same as we did for our oldest. Why are they so different?

A: What you'...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Defining boundaries will help family relations

Parents / Family Living /

Q: After dating nearly two years, my fiance and I are engaged to be married this month. He has two adult bonuschildren from a prior marriage. He continues to be active in their lives and a great friend to his ex-wife, although she initiated the divorce 5 years ago. My fiance told me that his ex-wife refuses to meet me, and tonight I also ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Forced fatherhood? It happens more than you'd think

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: My girlfriend and I talked many times about children and mutually decided not to have any. However, without telling me, she changed her mind and got pregnant. I have absolutely no interest in being a father or raising children, but she's threatening to come after me for child support. Is there anything I can do to stop her?

A: The...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: The distractions continue

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: A few weeks ago, you had an email from a 13-year old whose mother talks on the phone. You should have told the child to rat her mother out to the cops. The mother is endangering her own life, her daughter's life, and innocent bystanders' and drivers' lives. The 13-year old should send a note to the cops saying that her mother ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: How do I get my ex to stop badmouthing me to our son?

Parents / Family Living /

Q. It seems every chance my ex gets he's telling my son what a terrible person I am. I had an affair and we broke up. It's gotten to the point where my son refuses to see him, and of course my ex thinks I'm the one putting our son up to it. I swear I am not, and I don't know how to get it through to his father that the badmouthing is hurting our...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Hitting the road with teens

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: My wife and have been planning a family vacation which, of course, will include our two teenagers. We've tried to get the kids involved, but whenever we try to talk with them about what we've planned, we end up fighting. I'm about ready to cancel the whole thing. Can you think of a way we can put together a vacation that everyone ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Have a sense of humor over copycat

Parents / Family Living /

Q: My ex-husband's new wife copies me and it's driving me crazy. She dresses like me, changed her hair to match mine, and my kids just announced that they recently got a new car -- same model and color as the one I drive. We rarely talk, so I'm not sure how to handle it, but with the kids going back and forth, if they notice so must other people...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Mother of teens chooses boyfriend over kids

Parents / Family Living /

Q: My husband passed away six years ago. We had twin boys. My boyfriend has two daughters. All the kids are very active in sports and go to the same high school. The problem is that after four years of dating and a lot of over nights, my boyfriend's divorce is not final and his ex-wife hates when I am around the kids. Therefore, I'm not allowed ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Driven to distraction

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: This may sound dramatic, but I'm hoping you can help save my mom's life. She's constantly on her phone, talking or texting, while she's driving. I'm only 13 and I've tried telling her to stop but she says she has it under control and says I should be quiet. She's cut out some of your columns and stuck them on our refrigerator, so I...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: When co-parenting works — and when it doesn't

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: Last week you wrote about co-parenting strategies. But you made it sound like it's an arrangement that works for everyone. I'm a divorce lawyer and I can assure that it doesn't. Please explain to your readers why parents would want to co-parent in the first place, as well as when it's likely to be successful and when it's not.

A: ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: When feeling down, get and accept help

Parents / Family Living /

Q: I have been divorced for about 2 years, and I share custody of my three kids, ages 8, 12 and 17. My ex has a very strong personality and I am often intimidated into silence when he's around. When we were together he was rarely home. I did everything. All of a sudden, he's "Father of the Year" with creative energy to spare and I feel ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: What's good ex-etiquette on Father's Day?

Parents / Family Living /

Q: My ex married a surgeon and now has a ton of money. Her husband buys my kid "new" everything and I just can't compete. My son is constantly talking about him. Father's Day is coming up and I have to admit I dread it. I'm afraid my son will rather be with him instead of me because there's so much more stuff over there and it's just plain more ...Read more


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