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Ask Mr. Dad: Disneyland syndrome is for moms too

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: I'm a divorced mom, and because of my past substance abuse issues, my ex-husband has primary physical custody of our children. I only get to see them on weekends and we miss each other terribly. I've been trying to make it up to them by filling every weekend with outings and activities. But I think I've made a mistake. More than ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Embarrassed by girlfriend's behavior

Parents / Family Living /

Q: My girlfriend and I were invited to a friend's Seder dinner for the Passover holiday, but the invitation fell through. My girlfriend has met my former wife several times and they appear to like each other, so she asked if we could go to her home for Passover dinner. I figured out a comfortable way to ask and she welcomed us.

During the ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: What to do if co-parent is 'messing up'

Parents / Family Living /

Q: My husband shares equal custody with his ex, and I have to say it, but she's a loser with a capital "L." She was just caught shoplifting and we suspect she's drinking again. Unfortunately, the kids overheard their dad and me talking about her and they've been very distant for the last couple of weeks. My husband would petition for custody, ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Having a baby changes everything — and everyone

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: My husband and I used to spend a lot of time getting together with friends and family. But ever since our baby was born, our social life has changed for the worse. I understand that some of this is normal, but it doesn't feel very good. How can we save our friendships?

A: It's kind of amazing, isn't it? These little creatures who ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Moving too quickly can unnerve kids

Parents / Family Living /

Q: My kids' dad and I have been apart for about a year. I've recently met a great guy and we are planning to move in together, but my kids, ages 11 and 13, are really fighting me. I'm surprised because I am the one who was always around -- their dad worked all the time. My ex is taking me back to court because he says it's too soon for us to ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Up in smoke

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: I got a call from my 15-year-old son's school principal today telling me that my son is being suspended for smoking on campus. Needless to say, my wife and I aren't very happy about this. My son, who is a little overweight, says he can quit anytime and that he only started because it will help him lose weight. He also says he's ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Find a compromise for Mother's Day celebration

Parents / Family Living /

Q: My biological mother died when I was 5-years-old and two years later my father married a wonderful woman who raised me and has always made me feel loved. I regard her as my mom, even though I will never forget my biological mother, but each year when Mother's Day rolls around, my aunt (my mom's sister) wants me to visit the cemetery where my ...Read more

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: The downside of praise

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: I'm almost embarrassed to say this, but I'm sick and tired of hearing parents tell their kids that they're "awesome," or "amazing" or "incredible," or any of the other overused words people use these days. The fact is that most kids aren't any of those things. I'm wondering whether we're doing damage to our society with our non-...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

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