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Ex-etiquette: Distant daughter

Parents / Family Living /

Q: My ex and I share custody of our daughter, and lately I've noticed that my daughter never wants to talk to me when she is at her mother's house. She seems happy at my house and likes to talk to her mom when she calls, but distant and withdrawn from me when she's with her mom. I've discussed this with her mother, but since it's not happening ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Bullying: When the victim becomes the perpetrator

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: My son just started in middle school and the dean called to tell me that my son is bullying several of his classmates. I find this hard to believe: I've never seen him treat anyone badly and no one else has ever told me otherwise. Plus, back in elementary school, he was constantly bullied because he was overweight (although he had ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Relationships are a two-way street

Parents / Family Living /

Q: My son and his wife of 10 years divorced two years ago. His ex-wife had three sons from a previous relationship, now well into adulthood and going to college. When they were married we considered her sons to be our grandsons. We celebrated Christmas and birthdays together and have always offered them the same presents as our biological ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Lightening the load of kids' backpacks

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: My 13-year-old son's backpack weighs a ton (actually, 25 pounds, but it feels like a ton), and I'm afraid he's going to hurt himself hauling it around. You've talked about the dangers of overloaded packs before, but as far as I can tell, backpacks don't seem to be getting any smaller. I suggested that he get a wheelie backpack, but...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: For grandpa, second chances really do exist

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: I'm in my early 70s now and just retired. I put in long hours and traveled a lot when I was working, so I wasn't around for my son and daughter as much as I wish I could have been. But now that I'm a grandfather, I don't want to miss an opportunity to build strong relationships with my grandkids. The problem is, I don't know how. ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: What's in a name?

Parents / Family Living /

Q: I divorced 5 years ago, after 26 years of marriage. I took my husband's last name, and we have three children (now grown). I kept my married name after divorce to have the same name as my children and because that was the name I eventually became known professionally. Now I am getting married to a man who has been married 3 times; I will be ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Sports dreams: Are they yours or your child's?

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad. My 5-year old daughter loves sports. My wife wants to sign her up for all sorts of teams but I'm not so sure. When I was a kid, my dad put a lot of pressure on me to do every sport possible and was so obnoxious on the sidelines that I ended up hating it. I don't want to put my daughter through the same thing. When's the "right" ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Dad and daughter's troubled relationship puts mom in the middle

Parents / Family Living /

Q: My nine-year-old daughter and her dad were always very close, but last year he moved across country to live with his girlfriend and her two daughters and their communication has virtually stopped. He calls, leaves messages, and gets very angry with me when she doesn't call him back. I understand the importance of teaching respect for her dad...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: When it comes to discipline, babies are like cats. Really

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: My 7-month old baby is a holy terror. He's a very active crawler and is already starting to climb all over the place too, plus he puts everything into his mouth! It seems like I'm always saying "No" to him, but he just ignores me and keeps on doing what he's doing. He definitely needs discipline. What can I do to punish him in a ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Kids vacation with dad, girlfriend; mom feels betrayed

Parents / Family Living /

Q: My ex has lived with a woman for about a year and a half. It was fine at first and I didn't mind, but they recently went on a trip with the kids, ages 8 and 11, and I realized this isn't ok with me -- to the point where I feel my boys have betrayed me by going on an overnight with them. I don't want to even talk to them when they come home. I...Read more

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


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