Q: My wife and I are expecting our first child. I'm excited to be a dad, but also intimidated. My father wasn't a good role model, so I feel pretty clueless about this whole parenting thing. Can you help?
Jim: Author Kent Nerburn once said, "It is much easier to become a father than to be one." Maybe that's one of the reasons why so many dads ...Read more
Dear Family Coach: My son is 12, and he clearly has a crush on his math teacher. I've noticed little notes he's written about her. I'm worried he will say something embarrassing or cross the line in some way. How should I approach this situation? -- Mom o' Loverboy
Dear Mom: I'm pretty sure this was a plotline for an episode of "The Brady ...Read more
Dear Family Coach: I've been coaching my 10-year-old son's baseball team for a few years. I enjoy spending the time together, but it seems like I have a more difficult time coaching my own son. Do you have any tips for how I can be more effective with my own kid? -- Coach
Dear Coach: There is something heartwarming and nostalgic about a ...Read more
Beauty comes in all sizes, shapes, numbers of legs and colors of fur. The animals touted in these new picture books can seem unloved at times but are actually full of tremendous qualities and character.
"Tony" by Ed Galing; illustrated by Erin E. Stead; A Neal Porter Book/Roaring Brook Press; 30 pages; $16.99.
This little gem of a book is ...Read more
Question: Our 18-year-old daughter is a month away from high school graduation and she is failing nearly every class! About six months ago, she took up with a group of young adults who are less than desirable, to say the least. Some of them are dropouts. I suspect drugs and alcohol. The more we tried to prevent her from running with this ...Read more
Dear Mr. Dad: A few years ago, I read an article you wrote about why dads should play with their daughters. My husband is a pretty traditional guy and has a real problem playing with our four-year old the way she wants to play -- meaning tea parties and dolls -- not the way he does -- meaning sports and superheroes. How can I encourage him to ...Read more
Q: Should I consider remarrying my ex-spouse for the sake of our child? We recently got divorced, but over the past few weeks I've become increasingly concerned about the impact of this family breakup upon our preschooler. As the dust settles, I wonder if maybe we could have made a better go of it.
Jim: Divorce often involves plenty of anger ...Read more
Dear Family Coach: My daughter is turning 13 in a few weeks. Instead of a party, she wants to attend a Green Day concert without me. She'd like to invite two other girls to join her. I don't feel she is old enough to go on her own with friends. What do you think? -- Worrier
Dear Worrier: There are so many factors to consider when making this ...Read more
Seems like a good time to remind girls they can do everything boys can and are stronger than they may know. These new books introduce tough girls and women, and even a feminist baby.
"Martina & Chrissie: The Greatest Rivalry in the History of Sports" by Phil Bildner; illustrated by Brett Helquist; Candlewick Press; 40 pages; $16.99.
Chris ...Read more
Dear Family Coach: My 18-year-old son was in a terrible car accident a few years ago, and he received a large cash settlement. Since I am listed on his bank account, I can see how he is spending his money. I'm sick to learn that he is blowing it away on parties, pizza and T-shirts. I know it's his money, but is there anything I can do to ...Read more
By the time this column appears in most papers to which it is distributed, Mother’s Day 2017 will have come and gone. Nonetheless, I’m going to talk about mothers—one in particular.
To begin with, assuming one believes his or her mother is worthy of admiration, then said esteem ought to be expressed on a frequent basis and not reserved ...Read more
Dear Mr. Dad: My daughter is almost two and refuses to share her toys. As if that weren't bad enough, she also snatches toys from any other kids within reaching distance. It's gotten to the point where I'm almost too embarrassed to allow her to go to other kids' houses on playdates or to have anyone else over to our house. How can I teach my ...Read more
Q. Lately my four-year-old child has been waking up in the middle of the night crying. He doesn't appear to know where he is and it takes quite a bit to calm him down. His mother and I just separated and he goes back and forth between our homes every couple of days and I attribute it to that, but I'm not sure, and I'm not sure what to do about ...Read more
Q: I studied art in college and married before graduation. Four years later, I spend my time preparing meals, wiping the noses of jelly-faced toddlers and mopping the kitchen floor -- while my still-single sorority sisters have thriving careers in graphic design and other artistic disciplines. I love my kids, but ... I admit I'm somewhat jealous...Read more
Dear Family Coach: The time has come for my son to choose a college. He has it in his head that he wants to attend a small rural liberal arts college with limited offerings. My husband and I think this school would be a terrible fit for him. Should we allow him to make his own decision even if we think it's a bad one? -- Grad's Mom and Dad
Fall into a young adult novel, and leave worries behind. These new teen reads are every bit as exciting and absorbing and brimming with timely tops as those aimed at older audiences.
"The Suffering Tree" by Elle Cosimano; Disney Hyperion; 357 pages; $17.99.
Elle Cosimano recently won praise for "Holding Smoke," now up for a Bram Stoker award...Read more
Dear Family Coach: My 13-year-old son has a mustache, and I cannot stand it. It's more fuzzy than bushy, and it makes him look much older than he is. I've been begging him to shave it, but he refuses. Even some kids at school are harassing him and calling him Mustachio. How can I get him to shave it for his own good? -- Mustachio's Mom
Dear ...Read more
Q. My parents broke up years ago and chose new partners that are far better suited for them. I was raised by four people I knew loved me. I was never asked to choose homes or parents. However, Mother's Day and Father's Day poses a problem for me. Got any ideas how I can acknowledge my stepparents while not slighting my mom and dad? What's good ...Read more
Dear Mr. Dad: I received an email from my 14-year-old son's school warning us about a TV show called "Thirteen Reasons Why," which apparently deals with a high-school girl who commits suicide. The school seems very concerned about the effect that the show -- which I'd never heard of -- could have on at-risk kids. I raised the issue with my son (...Read more