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Ask Mr. Dad: Body image and eating disorders: Not for girls only

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: I'm completely convinced that my son has an eating disorder. When he was little, he was always a little on the heavy side. At about 11 -- right when puberty hit -- he suddenly started dieting. At first, I was proud of him for taking charge of his own weight. He looked really good and seemed happier with himself. But he kept right ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Choosing sides when friends breakup

Parents / Family Living /

Q: My husband and I hang around with about five other couples. We all have kids and do a lot of kid-centered activities together. I have decided to throw a BBQ for Father's Day -- the guys can grill to their hearts content and the kids can swim. However, one of the couples is splitting up. It upsets us all, but also presents a problem -- my ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: In June … and year 'round … men's health starts at the top: His head

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: I've read several of your columns that have touched on the health of men and boys, but you haven't spent much time talking about mental health. Is male mental health different than females'?

A: Very different. Within the broader men's health crisis, which, as you mention, I've written a lot about, there's one area where ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: There's a fascinating connection between language, rhythm and reading

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: My 2 1/2-year-old is learning lots of new words, but has trouble singing even the simplest song. And although he sometimes rocks in time to music, he's almost never on the beat. Is there a connection between language, music and rhythm, and is a problem with any of them a developmental red flag?

A: In a word, yes. During the second...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Is it wrong to invite my deceased wife's family to a barbecue?

Parents / Family Living /

Q: There is a long weekend coming up and my wife of three months and I are throwing a family barbecue. It's the first one we have thrown and the guest list has become somewhat awkward. I have remained quite good friends with my deceased first wife's family and would like to invite her parents (she was an only child). My wife says I must cut off ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Look who's not talking

Parents / Family Living /

Q: My 7 year old daughter tells me she does not want to leave every time she comes to my house. She asks, "Daddy, why do I have to leave?" At first I told her I didn't want her to leave, but it was ordered by the judge. That didn't help. The next time she came over she became hysterical before she left until finally I asked her if she wanted to ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Red flags over godfather surprise

Parents / Family Living /

Q: My girlfriend of two years has just told me that her ex is her son's godfather. They have been broken up for more than five years. I found out because he was present at her son's birthday party, and when I questioned her about it, everything came out. I was surprised because we have talked about our exes and I know the birth father is not ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Abortion: An issue that affects all of us

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: I remember a thoughtful column you wrote a few years ago about abortion and the need for men and women to talk about it. I'm wondering whether your thinking has changed in light of the draconian anti-abortion laws in Georgia, Alabama and other places. I'm also wondering what you think about the laws in other states (New York, for ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Is it OK to ground a disobedient child from seeing biological parent?

Parents / Family Living /

Q: My daughter is grounded for a month because of her lying and missing school work. Should she be able to go to her biological father's house over the weekend? He only sees her every few months and he is what I call a Disneyland Dad. What should I do? What's good ex-etiquette?

A: My first reaction to your question was, "Is she serious?" and I ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Boys and girls: Nature vs. nurture?

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: My husband and I have a boy and a girl and we try as much as we can to treat them the same way. We don't limit our daughter's wardrobe to pink and our son's to blue and we've banned gender-stereotyped toys from the house. But our daughter still behaves like a stereotypical girl and our son like a boy. What did we do wrong?

A: In a...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Keep family harmony with Bonusmom's Day

Parents / Family Living /

Q: When I had my daughter I looked forward to Mother's Day. Every year she would pick me flowers from the garden and we had a tea party in the back yard. As she grew older it became breakfast, but her dad and I ended up divorcing and he remarried and now Mother's Day is not the same. His wife asks if she can just spend a couple hours with my ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Bonding with tweens

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: I am having difficulty communicating with my 11-year-old son. When I ask him questions, he barely answers with one syllable grunts and is completely uninterested in spending any more time with me than he has to. What can I do to build a better relationship with a child who thinks his father isn't cool?

A: The good news is that ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: When is it appropriate to tell a child about biological parent?

Parents / Family Living /

When I was 17, I had a child with a friend from high school. We were experimenting and it seemed like no big deal. She was going to have an abortion, then at the last minute decided to keep the baby. I was young, stupid and not supportive. I saw him only a few times before I went into the air force. I have not talked to his mother since, ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: What children need

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: I've been dating a wonderful man and think he's "the one." The only issue is that he has a two-year-old child. I never wanted to be a parent (I'm not sure I even liked kids), but that's changed. I think I'm ready to be a stepmother and even have a child of my own, once he puts a ring on it. But my friends say I'm getting in over my...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: The atomic bomb in divorce cases

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: My wife and I are getting divorced. There are a lot of complex financial issues to work through, and we're meeting regularly with a court-appointed mediator. So far, the process has taken more than a year, and although it's been painful, things were proceeding along in a fairly friendly way. Or at least I thought they were. At the ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Mom's laundry list of dad's shortfalls needs cleaning

Parents / Family Living /

Recently, I had two parents sitting in my office disgusted with one another. The mother walked in with a laundry list that the father was doing wrong -- starting with not cleaning their 8-month-old twins properly.

"They are going to get UTI's if he's not more careful. I think he needs supervised visits!" The current parenting plan included two...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Infertility: Not just for women only

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: A few years ago, you wrote a column about male infertility. I remember being surprised, since I'd always thought women were the only ones who had fertility problems. But now, after several years of being unable to conceive, I just found out that, just like the man who'd written to you back then, that the issue is mine. And, like ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: The most common cancer among boys and young men is almost completely preventable

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: I'm a single mother and my teenage son rather sheepishly told me that he thinks there's something wrong "down there." When I asked what he meant, he said something doesn't feel right. He's not the kind of kid who complains about his health very much, so I took him to his pediatrician who referred us to a urologist to do some tests...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Bonusdaughter seems to dislike me

Parents / Family Living /

Q: My husband and I have been married 10 years. We met two years after his divorce. I have no children and he has three adult daughters. The oldest two are open and respectful of me, but the youngest simply acts nasty and makes inappropriate comments when visiting our home. How do I deal with a bonusdaughter who seems to dislike me, for reasons ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Traveling with someone else's kids

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: My wife and I are planning our summer vacation and are considering inviting one of our daughter's friends to join us. I know it sounds like a great idea, but I'm sure there are all sorts of potential pitfalls. What do we need to watch out for?

A: You're right. There are plenty of ways your plan could go awry. Here are a few steps ...Read more


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