Q. My 7-year-son continually comes back from his father’s home with bruises on his knees and shins. I have asked my son where they come from, and he doesn’t seem to know. Although his father was quite conscientious when we were together, I’m still very concerned. I think my son may be covering for his father and I’m wondering if I should...Read more
Dear Mr. Dad: I don’t know how to put this nicely, but my 7-year-old son is a liar, a cheater, and a thief. He fibs — usually straight to my face — every chance he gets, and after several recent trips to grocery stores, I found that he’d stolen some small items. What have my wife and I done wrong? And what can we do to stop this before ...Read more
I recently received an email from two co-parents who wrote to me together — a novel approach, I must say. They were looking for direction. They knew they have a problem, they just weren’t sure what to do. They asked, “What’s good ex-etiquette when…”
Parent A: My 14-year-old does something my ex doesn’t like and he’s immediately ...Read more
Q. My ex moved out nine months ago. He has no furniture in his apartment — nothing but a TV in the living room and a bed in his room. I told him maybe he should take a break and postpone his weekends with our daughters, 6 and 8, until he gets some furniture. He refuses! If I called Child Protective Services, would they intervene? What’s good...Read more
Q. Why would my ex-wife continue to have a relationship with my in-laws after four years of being divorced? I understand we have kids, but it’s beginning to be troublesome now that I’m in a serious relationship and thinking about getting married again. What’s good ex-etiquette?
A. It sounds like intellectually you understand why she’s ...Read more
Q. What would family court think of my ex, a mother who prompted our separation (we were never married, but have two children together) and then three months later proceeds to move in with my brother? What’s good ex-etiquette about that?
A. I don’t know the specifics of your case, and I have learned from years of experience to never form an...Read more
Q. I have a bonus family. My husband has two kids and I have two kids. We’ve added a son three years ago. We have tried your suggestion of a family discussion to air differences, but things seem to spin out of control. What’s good ex-etiquette?
A. Family discussions are great ways to problem-solve, but bonusfamilies must be careful that ...Read more
Dear Mr. Dad: Despite all the press coverage of our pullout from Afghanistan, U.S. servicemembers are still deployed all over the world — and I’m one of them. I’m in the Navy and am about to deploy for six months. I’ve read your book, "The Military Father," and learned a lot of great stuff about keeping up my relationship with my kids ...Read more
Q. I have two bonus children with whom I am very close. My husband and I also added another daughter three years ago. I try to have alone time with all of them and inevitably one will ask, “Who do you like best?” I’m always at a loss for exactly what to say. What’s good ex-etiquette?
A. It’s human nature for a child to wonder if he or...Read more
Q. My ex and I barely get along, and it’s because of things like this … I bought tickets a month in advance to go to a special venue on Friday the 13th with my son. It happens to be on the weekend my son is scheduled to be with his dad. (Dad sees Derek every other weekend.) I thought a month would be enough time to secure a trade, but when I...Read more
Q. My ex left me about a year and a half ago. I lost my job and that was it. We share our 6-year-old daughter equally. My ex now lives with a new guy. He came with her to the last exchange. I told him not to come again and it blew up. I was yelling, my ex was yelling, and so was he. My daughter was crying. It was a mess. I don’t know why he ...Read more
Dear Mr. Dad: A few years ago, a friend sent me a column of yours that dealt with the issue of gender identity and sexual orientation and pronouns. I didn’t pay much attention to it then, but everyone at my office is now announcing their “preferred pronouns” in their email signatures and my own daughter now says she’s nonbinary and wants...Read more
Q. My children’s father has a very bad temper. Over the years my kids have asked me, “Don’t to tell Dad,” for fear he would get angry. I have kept a few minor things in confidence, but now my 15-year-old daughter has debilitating cramps when she is on her period and her doctor has prescribed birth control pills to control the problematic...Read more
Q. After three years together, my ex and I broke up four months ago. I was so mad that I didn’t take anything except my car, which was mine before I moved in. He still lives in the house, has my sofa and has all my pots and pans and I’m the one who cooks! He also still has hundreds of dollars in kitchen utensils and spices. The dust has ...Read more
Q. Why does my boyfriend’s ex have to be everywhere we go? She even goes to his kids’ games when they are scheduled to be with him. I tell him she’s not supposed to be around if the kids aren’t scheduled to be with her, but he disagrees. I told him I was writing to you so he can hear how wrong this is. So, what’s good ex-etiquette?
Q. I had a miserable 10 years with my ex. We tried counseling, but my ex stopped it when things got too close for comfort. I am convinced she is a narcissist. She checks all the boxes. Would this be enough of a reason to get sole custody of my kids? What’s good ex-etiquette?
A. I have to tell you, currently, there seems to be an abundance of ...Read more