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Ex-etiquette: 'My home is so uncomfortable'

Parents / Family Living /

Q: My son is 10-years old and quite rambunctious. It was fine before my boyfriend moved in, but now that he lives with us, my son seems to really get on his nerves. My boyfriend has no children of his own, loses his temper and snaps at my little guy when he does something he's not supposed to do. I find myself defending my child to my boyfriend ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Between life and death, choose life

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: My boyfriend and I have been going out for several years and are quite serious. We've even talked about getting married. We both have adult children from previous marriages, but while I'm very close to my daughters, he's been estranged from his 25-year old son for more than 20 years, ever since he moved out. They've recently ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Elder abuse

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: I am 74 years old and handicapped. My 43-year-old daughter moved in to my house with her boyfriend and was supposed to help me with basic caregiving. But instead, the two of them have turned my house into a dump, destroying my furniture, damaging the walls, and more. I made the mistake of giving my daughter access to my checking ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Bride-to-be: 'I don't want his ex near our wedding'

Parents / Family Living /

Q: My fiance would like to invite his ex to our wedding. He feels his ex would like to see their children, ages 18 and 20, dressed up, and thinks it's appropriate that she attend, too. My fiance acts like this is standard practice and is upset that I don't want his ex near our wedding. End the argument, please. What's good ex-etiquette?

A: If ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: When to stand up -- and when not to

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: With all the talk about #MeToo these days, I want to teach my children about the importance of standing up for themselves and what they believe in. When do you think is the right time to start, and how should I do it?

A: Teaching children to stand up for themselves and what they believe in is very important. But although the two ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: When — and how — to argue in front of the kids

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: My wife and I have always had a loud relationship. There's never any physical violence, but we do tend to argue a lot. One recent source of disagreements is whether it's okay to argue in front of our kids, who are 5 and 8. What's your take?

A: Conventional wisdom says that you shouldn't fight in front of your children. Kids may ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Feeling like the odd-man-out in relationship

Parents / Family Living /

Q: How do I deal with being the last to know EVERYTHING? It's like my fiance is still in a relationship with his ex and then there's me. For example, the kids had a doctor's appointment. They all ended up at our house afterward. Evidently, there were plans to go for ice cream after the doctor's, but everyone forgot to tell me. So, my guy, the ex...Read more

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


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