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Ex-etiquette: He's still married, continues to pursue me

Parents / Family Living /

Q: I've been dating someone who has not filed yet, but plans to divorce. He was in a separate residence when we started 7 months ago, but recently moved back into the home to be around his children. He is starting to write a legal proposal. I was uncomfortable and ended it. He continues to pursue me and wants a future with me. I don't know what ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: A different kind of playtime

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: My 2-year-old son has discovered his genitals and spends what seems like a lot of time playing with himself. How can I get him to stop?

A: The toddler years are the age of exploration, a time when your child investigates his world and learns about all the great things he can do with his body. Giving him as much freedom as possible...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Valentine's Day is no day to say you're sorry

Parents / Family Living /

Q. My ex and I had a lovely life together, but I got bored, met someone new, and left. We had two kids, and although I somewhat regret my actions, I think I'd probably do it again. Of course I'm not with the other guy and after intense amounts of therapy I own that it was my fault and I'm wondering if Valentine's Day is the day to talk to my ex...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: When communication breaks down, part 2

Parents / Family Living /

In last week's column, we talked about what to do when, despite your best efforts, your relationship with your partner is about to end. Strategies we discussed included getting legal advice, considering alternatives to litigation and understanding that there's no such thing as "winning" custody. This week I want to share a few more strategies ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Why are my loved ones choosing the 'bad guy' over me?

Parents / Family Living /

Q: I was married for twenty years when my now ex-husband had an affair -- and eventually married the woman. We've been divorced for five years and I'm still very angry. We have two adult children who are both married with children and they have chosen to continue their relationship with him, even though I've asked them not to. It seems as if ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: When communication breaks down

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: You often write about how couples can improve their communication and how that communication can protect their relationship. But what about after the relationship ends, which is what's happening with my girlfriend and me?

A: It may sound strange, but communication during and after a divorce or breakup is still critical. First, ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Breaking up is hard to do

Parents / Family Living /

Q: I'm a stay-at-home mom. My children's father rarely took an interest in the kids while we were together. He would take them to baseball practice after work and go to their games on the weekends, but never took them to the doctor or dentist or went to school conferences. Now that we are splitting up and he wants all this time with the kids! I ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: When is it okay to be a bigot?

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: Have you seen that new television commercial that aims to get men to treat women better? I think it's great and even recorded it and am playing it for my husband and son. What do you think?

A: For those who missed it, the ad in question is from Gillette -- a Procter & Gamble brand -- and essentially invites men (and boys) to shave...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Kids often wonder if mom and dad will get back together

Parents / Family Living /

Q: My boyfriend has a 10-year-old daughter who I am quite close to. He has made it very clear to her that we are together and that we love each other very much, but a few days ago while we were doing something in the kitchen, she made it very clear that she wants her parents to get back together. My boyfriend and his ex often spend time alone ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Overspending can be an underappreciated problem

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: As a husband, what can I say to my wife to help her understand that her financial habits affect our present and future? We want to buy a house now. This is where I realized that I need to push her to improve her credit. It's not the credit score alone that I'm concerned about, it's the things that have made the score low. Although ...Read more

Party ex-etiquette: I'm invited to a party where my ex will be

Parents / Family Living /

I've been invited to a good friend's party. I'd like to bring my new guy, but I know my ex will be there and I am afraid he will cause a scene. Our son is 3 and I can't completely walk away from the guy, but he's out of control. He blows up my phone constantly asking me to come back, but he's the one who cheated. Our son is a mess watching all ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Choosing your battles: Especially important with teens

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: My 14-year-old son just dyed his hair blue and is wearing torn up jeans and sweatshirts with vulgar slogans on them. He's generally a good boy and does well at school, but many relatives, friends, and family are more conservative and think it's a sign that he's running with the "wrong" crowd. I tried to persuade him to drop this ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: No such thing as an ideal age gap between children

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: My wife and I have a 4-month old baby and my wife already wants to start trying for another one. Is that really a good idea?

A: Unfortunately, there's no right answer -- at least not one that's "right" for everyone. Many people say that having two children close together makes life easier, while others say it makes an already-...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Is it OK to return kids earlier than court order states?

Parents / Family Living /

Q: My ex drives me crazy. He's taking me back to court to get more time with the kids, but he brings them home two hours early every time because he says they're tired. Why would he want more time if he can't even handle what he has? I want a court order that reflects exactly when the kids are with him! What's good ex-etiquette?

A: There's two ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Joint custody -- even for toddlers -- is the best option

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: My wife and I are getting divorced. She has filed for sole custody of our two children, ages 2 and 4. I've always been a very involved dad and my wife knows how important my kids are to me. I asked why she's asking for sole custody and she says that her lawyers told her that it's better for young children to be with their mothers ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Is it legal to keeps kids from being with dad?

Parents / Family Living /

Q: My wife and I broke up recently. She moved out, took the kids with her and has kept them away for two months. I had to move in with my parents but there's plenty of room for the kids. I can't imagine not seeing them on Christmas, even for a couple of hours. Is this legal? What's good ex-etiquette?

A: The only reason I can think of that ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Tech for toddlers: don't. But if you absolutely must …

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: A few weeks ago, you talked about how bad technology is for toddlers. My wife and I generally like your advice, but in this case, we think you're wrong. Tech is everywhere -- even little kids are learning to code --and we want our baby to be as prepared as possible to survive in the world. And part of that means getting him ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Ex's new girlfriend has her way for Christmas

Parents / Family Living /

Q. Every year my ex has a Christmas party. He invites me, plus our kids -- all adults, yours, mine, and ours, and all have kids of their own. We have done this for years. He hires Santa for the grandkids. It's really fun. This year he has a new woman in his life and I wasn't invited. As a matter of fact, I was told it would be inappropriate if I...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Media messages affect us

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: I'm a new dad and have been reading to my baby. But I've started to notice that most of the parents in children's books are moms. There are some books where dad is the main parent, but most of the time we're not there at all. My wife says that the media is just reflecting reality. I disagree. What do you think?

A: First things ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: The Santa clause

Parents / Family Living /

Q: About a year ago I married a man with a lovely little four-year-old girl. Since his ex and he share equal custody, I am with this child for a week at a time every other week. It has worked out well and we adore each other. My husband and I wanted to take her to take pictures with Santa, and told her we would go this Saturday when she is with ...Read more


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