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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

Ex-etiquette: How do I get him to see he favors his kids?

Parents / Family Living /

Q: My guy tells me he loves my kids, but I don't see it. He openly favors his own children to the point that this year he's buying his kids way better presents than he's buying mine. My kids won't know it because we don't have his kids for Christmas this year, but it's the principle of the thing. How do I get him to see he favors his kids? What'...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Is it OK to continue giving gifts to ex's relatives?

Parents / Family Living /

I was recently divorced from a marriage of 18 years. We have one son, now away at college. With Christmas right around the corner, I'm wondering if it's proper to continue giving birthday gifts and/or Christmas gifts to my ex-mother in-law, ex-brother and sister in-laws, young ex-nieces, and nephews? They were family for so long; it seems ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Restaurants and kids; think twice before mixing

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: I'm a server at an upscale eatery and am constantly amazed at parents who bring their loud, unruly children into the restaurant and let them run wild. We've had kids trip servers, knock over bottles of expensive wine, disturb other customers, start food fights, and worse. As a parent myself, I would never let my kids get away with ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: The connection between income and addiction: It may not be what you think

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: The high schools in our old neighborhood were well known for drug and alcohol problems. For that reason, a few months ago, my family moved to a new (and very expensive neighborhood) so that my son could attend one of the best schools in our state, one that we hoped wouldn't have those problems. My husband and I place a high value ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Skip the 'memory lane' talk

Parents / Family Living /

Q. My husband and I have been married for 5 years -- together for 7. For years I've heard what a bitch his ex is. Their daughter recently graduated and wanted to spend her first Thanksgiving after college with both her parents, me included. I thought spending the holiday with the ex was a little much, so I suggested we all go out for dinner the ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Preschooler wants a mommy

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: I'm a single dad -- my wife left me with the baby right after our son was born. He's now four and keeps asking where his mommy is. I try to keep in touch with her and ask her to spend time with her son, but she's not interested. I've also been dating a lot, hoping to meet women so my son can have some positive female role models in...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Grateful for 'yours, mine, and ours'

Parents / Family Living /

I'm a big toaster. For years at Thanksgiving I tried to kick off the dinner by raising our glasses together and counting our blessings. We are a yours, mine, and ours bonusfamily and the people at the table are an uncommon bunch. There are exes and current partners, there are kids from each coupling that have all been raised together -- and now ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Sexual harassment: It's everyone's problem

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: Over the past month, I don't think there's been a day without a news story of some famous person being accused of sexual assault or harassment. I'm disgusted by these men's behavior, but I'm concerned that one group of victims is being left out: men who are assaulted or harassed by women. At my last job, my female boss frequently ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Do what you must to create a harmonious holiday season

Parents / Family Living /

Q: My kids' dad and I broke up about four months ago. This is our first big holiday and in doing research on the subject, I've read some sources that say you should spend the holidays with your child's other parent and other sources that say you should not. Once and for all, what's right? I'm tired of making mistakes. What's good ex-etiquette?

...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Making your home safe for kids

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: A few weeks ago, you gave some great general guidelines for childproofing. How 'bout some details for specific parts of the house?

A: You almost beat me to the punch! As promised, here they are.


-- Keep high chairs a few feet away from walls. Babies' legs are plenty strong enough to push off the wall and knock ...Read more

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