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Ask Mr. Dad: Meditation isn't what you think

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: A few years ago, you wrote about the benefits of meditation for children. I honestly thought you were joking. But a counselor at my son's school just recommended it, saying it could help my son's severe anxiety. When I asked how to do it, he handed me a copy of your article! For the benefits of other readers, would you please ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Something's not right

Parents / Family Living /

Q: My boyfriend and I have been living together for two years. He has two children, ages 3 and 4 1/2 His ex will not allow the kids to come to our home. He must see them at her house. He's there all the time, morning and night, and sometimes he stays the night when she's out of town on business. I hate it (I've never even seen her) and I think ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Rethink a Valentine's Day announcement

Parents / Family Living /

Q: I've recently struck up a friendship with a guy I lived with five years ago. I left when I was pregnant and never told him. Our son is now four, and after recently seeing my ex I think I should tell him that Randy is his son. At our last meeting, things got sort of flirty again, and I think Valentine's Day might be a good time to get his ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: The ambivalent father

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: My daughter is almost two and being a dad has been the greatest experience of my life. But lately, I look at my child and feel absolutely nothing. What's wrong with me, and what can I do to get my mojo back?

A: Over the course of the 20+ years I've been writing about parenting, there have been only a few things that I'm not sure I...Read more

Ex-etiquette: 'Why is my teen lying?'

Parents / Family Living /

Q: I just found out that when my daughter is at my house she texts her mother behind my back. I found her phone and checked her messages. She tells me she's happy when she's with me, but she tells her mother she "misses her and wants to come home." Why is she lying? I feel betrayed. What's good ex-etiquette?

A: We've got some first-class red ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Kitchen whiz

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: I read your recent column about doing projects with your kids and liked what you had to say. But you left out a very important part of the house: the kitchen. While not everyone will have to do household repairs or change the oil in their car, we all have to eat. My mom always had me help her in the kitchen, and as a mom, I want to...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Building a relationship with your children

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: My job requires long hours and frequent travel, which means that I rarely ever get to spend as much time with my 5-year-old daughter as I'd like to. As a father, what can I do to log some quality time with her, besides playing with dolls?

A: Let's start with the myth of "quality time." There's really no mystery. The truth is that ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Kids pay the price when adults play games

Parents / Family Living /

Q: Even though my ex and I have been together for five years, he's been abusive since day one. I finally got tired of it and left -- and got a restraining order to protect myself and our two kids. He has custody of his daughter from a previous relationship -- and I've raised her the whole time -- but he has not let me see her since I left. He ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Child custody 101

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: After three children and 16 years of marriage, my wife and I are splitting up. We're getting along pretty well right now and are trying to figure out how to divide custody in a fair way. What are our options?

A: Start by taking a look at last week's column on co-parenting plans. Among the most common questions I get from divorcing...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Who gets to host the kids' birthday parties?

Parents / Family Living /

Q. My ex and I disagree about how to celebrate our kids' birthdays. We celebrate all other holidays together with extended family, and we both agree it would be nice to have one party, but when the date rolls around, she insists on hosting. When I get angry about it she tells me to have my own party, but we both know friends and family won't go ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Putting together a co-parenting plan

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: My husband and I are getting divorced. Unfortunately, we're so angry at each other that we can no longer even be in the same room together. Fortunately, despite our anger, we still understand how important each of us is to our children -- and how important our children are to each of us. Do you think we'll be able to come up with a...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Understanding shared custody

Parents / Family Living /

My husband and I share custody of his two young daughters. I also have kids from my prior relationship -- one is in middle school and the other in high school. My husband's daughters see their mother every other weekend, so she doesn't have much influence on them, but each time they come home, they are terrible. It takes me days to straighten ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: First be mom, then be friends

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: I'm a single mom and have an issue with my 14-year old son. For the past seven years, since my husband died, it's been just the two of us. He's quite independent and very smart and I try to get him involved in household decisions. For better or worse, I've always been pretty relaxed in my relationship with him and have made an ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Shared custody asks parents to be superhuman

Parents / Family Living /

Q. My ex is very angry how our break-up came about, and it makes talking very difficult. Each time I try to talk to her about how the kids are doing or try to coordinate efforts she brings up the past. We end up yelling at each other. I know we have to talk, but we both hate the interaction. What do you suggest? What's good ex-etiquette?

A. I ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Are our children winning the race to obesity?

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: Everyone knows about the crisis of overweight and obese kids. With the Winter Olympics just a few weeks away, I got to wondering whether so many kids being fat and out of shape will affect the United States' ability to compete (not necessarily in these Olympics, but in the future). What do you think?

A: Your question reminded me ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: How to send appropriate texts to your ex

Parents / Family Living /

Q. My ex and I got married on New Year's Eve and have a daughter. Each year, at the time we were married, he texts me, "Happy Anniversary." Not a fan, especially since he remarried a year after our break-up, but to be nice, I always reply with a winking emoji -- mostly because I don't want to mess up our great co-parenting relationship. But, ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Kids teach stepmom the meaning of Christmas

Parents / Family Living /

I'm often asked about gift giving at this time of year, in particular, shopping for gifts for people you probably don't want to deal with -- in my case, it was my husband's ex. Contrary to what I advise other co-parents, my husband and I moved very quickly when we decided to move in together. (That's the reason I always say to go slow at the ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Pros and cons of working at home

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: I'm a new father and my company recently offered me the option working from home a few days a week. That sounds pretty great to me, but I'm curious about the positives and negatives.

A: As someone who's worked from home for more than 20 years, I can definitely see the attraction: You get to work at your own pace without people ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Holidays get tricky

Parents / Family Living /

Q. My ex-wife recently has recently moved to a town 100 miles away and would like to have Christmas dinner at her new home. The kids, all adults with families of their own, have always spent Christmas Eve with her and Christmas Day with me. This year, because of the distance, she is proposing we all spend the holidays with her. We all get along,...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: There's a limit to limits

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: Anytime the topic of discipline comes up, everyone talks about how important it is to set limits. I agree, but it's a lot easier to talk about it than to actually do it, especially when the kids (mine are 4 and 8) push back and challenge everything. How do you suggest we go from talking to doing?

A: The reason people talk so much ...Read more

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