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Ex-etiquette: Get therapy to reassess relationship expectations, help raise child with Asperger's

Parents / Family Living /

Q: I recently met and married a great woman with an 11-year-old son who has been diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome. He is very high-functioning and polite, intelligent, etc. The problem is he is EXTREMELY messy and absent-minded. He leaves for school 10 minutes after we leave for work and he leaves every single light on. One day we came home, ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Going swimming? Keep your mouth shut

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: My family loves to swim, and every year my wife and I have the same argument. I say swimming pools are filthy and I tell our kids to keep their mouth closed while they're in the water. My wife says chlorine kills any dangerous germs and that it's perfectly fine for the kids to fill their mouths with water and squirt each other, or ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Your last name is also hers, legally

Parents / Family Living /

Q: Here's an ex-etiquette question for you. My ex and I were married for eight years and have been apart for four. I had no problem letting her keep my last name after we divorced because her son from a previous marriage uses the same name, but now she's remarrying and she doesn't want to change her name to the woman's last name she will be ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Sometimes tickling is anything but funny

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: In one of your columns a few months ago, you responded to a new dad who wasn't feeling terribly connected to his baby. Your advice was realistic and sensible, except for one thing: toward the end of your answer, you recommended that he tickle his baby. Tickling can sometimes become cruel, especially with toddlers and older children...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Being organized, cordial eases awkward situation

Parents / Family Living /

Q: My ex-husband and I have a son getting married in a couple months. I'm not sure how to handle some of the marriage protocols that are normally handled by the parents of the groom. I would like to provide a "groom's dinner," and it's important that our son, and his fiance and her family feel comfortable. Her parents aren't divorced and we have...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Discipline is exhausting -- especially for single parents

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: I'm a single dad and am having trouble disciplining my kids. When I was married, my wife and I could put up a united front. But on my own, it's hard enough to keep up with everything going on in my kids' (and my) life, and I just don't have the energy to get into big battles with them. I know that something needs to change, but I ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Celebrations after breakup can be tricky

Parents / Family Living /

Q: My son is recently divorced after a 15-year marriage. He has two beautiful daughters, ages 7 and 10. His ex was seeing someone else and wanted the divorce. My oldest daughter (in another state) will be 50-years-old in a few months and my son, his 2 daughters and I want to surprise her for her birthday. I mentioned this to my daughter's ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Sometimes dreams aren't sweet at all

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: My six-year-old daughter has nightmares at least a few times every week. We've talked to our pediatrician, but he says that nightmares are pretty normal at this age. The doctor may not be concerned, but my wife and I are. How can we help our daughter?

A: Your doctor is right -- nightmares are pretty normal, affecting 10-50 percent...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Come on, Kiddo, act your age

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: My 5-year old son was completely toilet trained, had given up his pacifier, and was chattering away in full sentences. But ever since we brought our infant daughter home from the hospital, he's regressed. He's having accidents almost every night, has started sucking his thumb, and is speaking like a two-year old. What's going on? ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Should you 'make' your child visit your ex?

Parents / Family Living /

Q: My ex and I have been split up for over a year. We share an eight-year-old son. Recently, whenever it's time to go to his father's house my son throws a little tantrum, so I have cancelled the last two visits. His father is furious with me and tells me I should make him go. I don't agree. What's good ex-etiquette?

A: Good ex-etiquette is to...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Boys, birds, and bees: What moms need to know

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: I'm a widowed mother of two boys, one of whom just started puberty. I've been agonizing over a birds-and-bees talk but I'm not sure I'm the right person to deliver it. Having lived through puberty myself, I'm pretty familiar with what girls go through, but I don't know nearly enough about boys' experience. One thing I do know is ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Getting a baby of the 'wrong' sex is not what I was expecting

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: My wife and I are expecting our first child together. I say "together" because my wife is a widow and has a 4-year old daughter who's lived with us since she was a baby. When I found out my wife was pregnant I was so excited. But we just had an ultrasound and found out that the baby is a girl. All of a sudden, all I feel is ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Should 13-year-olds of the opposite sex share a bedroom?

Parents / Family Living /

Q: My new husband and I both have a child from a previous marriage. My daughter and his son just turned 13-years-old, their birthdays are one week apart. They have shared a bedroom for the past year but we are concerned that they may be getting too old to do that. What's good ex-etiquette?

A: So many parents ask me this question, but the answer...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Attitude adjustment needed for healthy relationship to evolve

Parents / Family Living /

Q: I am madly in love with a man I met six months ago. The problem is he has a daughter and thank goodness the mom has full custody. We're already talking marriage and having children of our own. How do I let him know that the kids we have together should be number one? Any clear way to draw the line before we get married just so everyone is ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Baby talk is beneficial for brain development

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: My wife and I have a two-week-old baby and I've noticed that many new parents seem to spend a lot of time talking to their babies. That looks and sounds kind of cute, but I honestly don't see the point since the kids can't understand a word of what people are saying. On the few times I do talk to the baby, he ignores me anyway. How...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: The art of childhood

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: Neither my husband nor I know anything about art. But with everyone talking about STEAM these days, we want to expose our two-year old daughter to as many different activities as possible, one of which is art. What's the best way for us to start teaching her?

A: Let's start with two things. First, it's way too early to be talking ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Communicate wishes for post-divorce relationships

Parents / Family Living /

Q: My son and his wife of 10 years are divorcing. Since their marriage we have considered her three sons from previous relationships as grandchildren. We celebrate their birthdays and Christmas with presents equal to the gifts we give our 7 other grandchildren. These bonus grandchildren are now 25, 20, and almost 18 years old and live in another...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Take two hundred breaths and call me in the morning

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: My 12-year old daughter has trouble focusing in school and always seems to be worried and on edge. Our pediatrician did a bunch of tests and says there's nothing medically wrong with her. But he suggested that we try to get her to meditate. I've heard of Buddhist monks meditating but never kids. Have you heard of it? And do you ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Is sending ex a Happy Valentine's Day wish inappropriate?

Parents / Family Living /

Q: On Valentine's Day I was tempted to send my ex a "Happy Valentine's Day wish, but I'm remarried and felt it was inappropriate. My family (daughters, sons, and their spouses) send group texts and I decided to send one to my children -- and I included their dad in the text since we all get along so well. Was that inappropriate as well? What's ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Blending old and new

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: My wife and I have a 9-month-old son. In addition, I have two older kids -- 7 and 10 -- from a previous relationship who are with my wife and me 50 percent of the time. Early on, my older kids were crazy about the new baby. But now they seem resentful, as though I love the baby more than I love them. Is there some way to show them ...Read more

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