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Ex-etiquette: Coddle the ex, offer solutions

Parents / Family Living /

Q: My ex was a stay at home mom and rarely went out. We break-up and all of a sudden she's partying and not coming home until late. My kids, age 15 and 16, complain that their mother is never home and I'm wondering if I should file for full custody. What's good ex-etiquette?

A: You can go back to court anytime you want, but before you do, let's...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Talk to me, baby

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: My 13-month old says only two words: dada and mama. My best friend's son is two months younger and she's constantly bragging about how many words he knows. She's got me worried that there's something wrong with my baby. Do all kids start talking about the same age? Either way, what can I do to increase my baby's vocabulary.

A: As ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Summer water safety

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: One of my family's favorite things about summer is that we get to spend a lot of time in and around water, whether that's at the beach or in a swimming pool. But every year I hear about kids (and adults) who drown and I'm really getting worried -- especially since two of my children are very young. Are drownings getting more common...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Despite the benefits, college isn't for everyone

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: While I appreciate your recent column about the benefits of education, I encourage you to add the option for a career technical education (CTE) degree and/or certificate to possible educational endeavors. Not all students are destined for a four-year degree. Without the burden of substantial debt, large numbers of students can have...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Don't ignore the red flags

Parents / Family Living /

Q. I was married for 13 years and have been separated for a year. I have two kids, ages 9 and 12. I have met someone I like -- finally -- but have only dated her once. We are both very busy and have not been able to arrange another date, but I know this relationship has potential. My kids have seen me texting her and have asked what's going on. ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: It's 'his home,' he can invite anyone he wants

Parents / Family Living /

Q: Is it appropriate for my boyfriend of 2 1/2 years to invite his ex over to his house for dinner and cake to celebrate their daughter's 16th birthday? I couldn't be there because of a work commitment. What's good ex-etiquette?

A: Let me rephrase this: You're basically asking, "Is it appropriate for my boyfriend to invite his daughter's mother...Read more

Ex-etiquette: It's the bride's day, she invites who she wants

Parents / Family Living /

Q. My daughter is getting married next month. Her father left 20 years ago and we have not seen him since. I know where he is -- we have stayed in touch with his relatives. My daughter wants her aunts and uncles to be at the wedding, but does not want me to invite her father. She wants her stepfather to walk her down the aisle. I'm conflicted. ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: A lack of education could kill you

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: My son just finished his sophomore year of high school and has decided that he doesn't want to graduate. My wife and I never finished high school and we're doing OK -- she's a waitress and I'm an auto mechanic. Some of my friends (the ones who have college degrees) are telling me that it's a mistake to let my son drop out. But I'm ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Sex during pregnancy? Yes, please.

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: I'm almost eight months pregnant and my sex life has completely disappeared. My husband used to want to make love all the time (so did I) and we did it a lot. But for the past four or five months, he hasn't laid a hand on me. I actually feel quite sexy and he seems to agree, calling me beautiful and adorable. But that's where it ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Father's Day rules of engagement

Parents / Family Living /

Q. My husband and his ex share the kids equally. She will not cooperate and tries to upset our family at every turn. I get along great with the kids, and for the past three years I have taken them out to buy Father's Day presents for their dad. This year without asking me, his ex bought my husband a present from the kids -- a Giants baseball hat...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: How to save your husband's life

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: My husband is a smart guy, but pays zero attention to his health. I resent that the responsibility has fallen to me, but I don't have much of a choice. What can I do to help him -- and to keep my son from becoming just like his dad?

A: Your husband is far from alone. Men's lackadaisical attitude toward their health contributes to ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Parents must share positive vision to combine families

Parents / Family Living /

Q. I was married 20 years ago to a man with children from a previous marriage. The children were 15 and 23 when we married. The children struggled with their parents' divorce, loyalty conflict and accepting their parents' new partners. The children (on behalf of their mother) rejected me as their father's partner. We struggled to work through ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Set boundaries when dealing with undermining parent

Parents / Family Living /

Q. I'm having a problem with my child's mother and I'm not sure how to handle it. She continually undermines my plans, but this last time took the cake. I'm a huge baseball fan and have wanted to take my son to a baseball game all his life. His mother knows this. He's been too young, but this year, for his 5th birthday, I got tickets for a game ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Don't panic, Dad-to-Be, you're not alone

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: My wife is due any day and until a week or so ago, everything was going incredibly smoothly. She and I took classes and we both read your book, "The Expectant Father" (which she liked better than most of the pregnancy books written for women). The pregnancy has been uneventful and the baby is doing great. But one night, I woke up ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Playing dolls with your daughter will help her, and you

Parents / Family Living /

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

Ex-etiquette: Let your boyfriend figure out boundaries with his ex

Parents / Family Living /

Q. What's reasonable contact between my boyfriend and his ex-wife? They have joint custody of their 6-year-old daughter. One week at Mom's, one week at Dad's. I understand the joint birthday parties and discussions about doctor's appointments, but why must they talk two or three times a day about things that have nothing to do with their ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: What's yours is mine, and other toddler rules

Parents / Family Living /

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

Ex-etiquette: 4-year-old's behavior could be night terrors

Parents / Family Living /

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

Ex-etiquette: Honoring parents, acknowledging stepparents

Parents / Family Living /

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

Ask Mr. Dad: The reasons behind 'Thirteen Reasons'

Parents / Family Living /

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

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