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Ex-etiquette: Interacting with an ex who makes you come unglued

Parents / Family Living /

Q.: I understand the importance of both parents interacting in the best interest of their child, but anticipating a conversation with my son's father makes my stomach queasy. So much so that I recently suggested he pick our son up at my mother's house. Is that good ex-etiquette?

A.: That's not a bad idea if your relationship is so volatile ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Approach of due date has him expecting anxiety

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: I'm 34 and my wife is just a few weeks away from giving birth to our first baby. I'm excited about becoming a dad, but my anxiety levels over the past week have been through the roof, and sometimes I feel like I'm having a heart attack. On top of my shortness of breath and dizziness, I'm also breaking out in hives. I've seen my ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Restraining order, distance are roadblocks to child visits

Parents / Family Living /

Q. My ex and I have two children under three. She now lives an hour and half away from me. It was a difficult break-up, and there's a restraining order against me that lists the kids. I have high blood pressure, and I also had a stroke right around the time she left. Rehabilitation was difficult, but I'm back driving now and working as a ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Block that tablet for a 1 year old; here's what builds smarts

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: My husband and I are new parents, and our baby is going to have his first birthday in a few weeks. We both work in tech and we're really excited about getting a tablet for him. There seem to be so many options out there and we're a little overwhelmed. Should we get an iPad or is there a better choice for toddlers?

A: Yes, the ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Dad badmouthing Mom adds to problem

Parents / Family Living /

Q. My child's mother and I were never married. We weren't even together by the time our son was born. He is now eighteen months old, and we share custody. Let me be blunt. She's a terrible mother. She smokes pot all the time -- always has. She has never been able to hold down a job. I'm afraid my son will get hurt because she doesn't pay ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Preparing Rover to be a good dog with baby

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: I'm pregnant with our first child and I'm due in about four moinths. One of the things I'm worried about is our dog, a 150-pound male mastiff, who is truly a part of our family and not just a pet. Some friends of ours say that it's dangerous to have a giant dog around a newborn and that we should start looking for a new home for ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Give up the guilt over baby son's fall

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: I've got a six-month-old son who doesn't sleep very well. As part of my calming-him-down-in-the-middle-of-the-night routine, I walk around the house rocking him. A few nights ago, I lay down on the couch with him on my chest. He fell asleep and I didn't want to wake him by standing up so I fell asleep, too. Maybe an hour later I ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Mom wants to keep ex's name when she remarries

Parents / Family Living /

Q. When I divorced 10 years ago, I kept my married name because we had two children and I wanted to have the same last name as my kids as they grew up. I'm going to remarry next month, and I'd like to continue to use my ex-husband's name, even though my children are now 15 and 17. My fiance has kids of his own and completely understands my ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Enjoy the water and safety this summer

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: My 4-year old twins are crazy about swimming or floating or doing pretty much anything in and around water. On one hand, I'm thrilled. I swam in high-school and college, and I'm looking forward to having them follow in my footsteps. On the other, I'm scared. I'm a stay-at-home mom, and there is no way I can keep an eye on them ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Dad upset to find ex, son in his house after school

Parents / Family Living /

Q. I came home from work early yesterday and found my ex and our 10-year-old son in my house. They were sitting in his room talking, but I think it was wrong that she was there. We have not been together for two years, and our son spends a week with me and a week with her. She does not have a key, it's not even a house we have lived in ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Beyond DadBod: Why men's health is a woman's issue

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: My husband doesn't exercise, he eats tons of fried foods and sugary drinks, and hasn't been to see a doctor in years. Worse than that, our two sons, ages 8 and 10, are following in their dad's footsteps. I'm really worried. Why won't my husband take better care of himself?

A: I really wish I had an answer to that question, but the...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Mom's view that her own Dad and ex share faults is clouding picture

Parents / Family Living /

Q. My ex is driving me crazy. He reminds me so much of my father -- who also drives me crazy. My dad had substance abuse problems for most of my life and has never quite gotten it together. My ex is just the same. He's far more educated that his job requires, he's always late to everything, his house is a mess, but the kids love to be there! ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: If BBQ makes ex uncomfortable at graduation, cook up a compromise

Parents / Family Living /

Q. My daughter is graduating this weekend, and her father and I are at odds as to how to handle the celebration afterwards. I want everyone to come over to my home for a casual BBQ, and he wants to take everyone out to dinner. My daughter tells me she would prefer the BBQ, but understands her father might be uncomfortable at my home now that I...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: How to tame a 1-year-old's hitting and biting

Parents / Family Living /

Biting the Hand that Feeds

Dear Mr. Dad: Our son just turned one, and, almost like flipping a switch, he went from the sweetest, happiest little guy to smacking and biting. It's bad enough when it happens at home, but my husband and I are beyond embarrassed when he attacks friends or strangers. Is it normal for babies to turn mean like this? ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Introducing kids to sports requires being a good sport

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad. When I was a kid, I did every possible sport -- baseball, football, soccer, gymnastics, basketball, track. What's the best way to introduce my 4-year-old son to sports?

A: A lot of dads start dreaming about their children's future athletic performance from time their wife says the words, "We're expecting." It's easy to imagine ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Dad she hasn't seen for years suddenly wants to meet on Father's Day

Parents / Family Living /

Q. I haven't seen my father in over 10 years. He is an alcoholic and he left my mother and me when I was 9. For some reason that is beyond my comprehension, he has contacted my mother and would like to see me this Father's Day. I have very bad memories of his rants, and I do not want to see him -- ever! My mother says I am an adult and she ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Son doesn't want to see ex; what should I do?

Parents / Family Living /

Q. My ex and I have been divorced for 10 years, and we share equal custody of our three sons. Our oldest son, 15, and his father recently had a fight, and my son refuses to speak to him and no longer wants to go back and forth between homes. His father has called me and told me to make our son talk to him. His father is a jerk, and I ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Time to volunteer and take the kids

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: I have to admit that my wife and I have been a bit self-centered in our adult lives, focusing on our work, earning money and supporting the family. We've done quite well financially, and we've both decided that we should start giving something back to our community. We want to get our kids involved, too, but they're pretty young ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Second wife peeved that Mom still included in family events

Parents / Family Living /

Q. I just finished reading your book "Ex-Etiquette for Parents." Kudos for this clear and concise guide to etiquette for blended families and showing how it can be done!

Having been a bonusmom for 18 years now, I was proud to read that we did many things "right" in terms of co-parenting. My husband and ex-wife did not communicate or work ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Dad worried that son plays with dolls

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: I'm worried about my eight-year-old son. He loves sports and does a lot of "boy" things, but sometimes I find him playing with dolls. Does this mean he's gay? Is there a way to tell this early on? And if he is gay, what should we do?

A: Whew, that's a lot of questions, so let's dive right in. Boys play with dolls all the time -- ...Read more

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