Q. The holidays are coming up and it's tradition that we all congregate at my partner’s parents’ home. They always invite his ex-wife. She never stays long, just long enough to say hi to his parents and their kids, but when she walks in, it’s like the prodigal daughter returned. It’s so obvious they prefer her, it makes me feel invisible...Read more
Dear Mr. Dad: Since my daughter was born two months ago, I’ve become completely convinced that she hates me. She seems quite happy when she’s with my wife, but when I try to hold her, she gets upset and cries. Thinking that maybe she just needs more time to get used to me, I’ve backed off a little. But that hasn’t done the trick. I’m ...Read more
Q. My kids are always looking for excuses to get their dad and me together. Last time, because my car broke down, they thought it was just fine for all of us to drive 50 miles together to watch our daughter’s violin recital. I think it’s weird. I’d rather stay home than drive with their dad ANYWHERE and I told them so. I think exes are ...Read more
Q. Over the years, my yours, mine and ours bonusfamily blended into a peaceful menagerie. It was great around the holidays; all the kids, the exes, extended family on either side congregated at our home. No fights or arguments, we all accepted that this is the way life had played out and we tried to make it easy on the kids. Now that the kids ...Read more
Q. My ex and I have been split up for two years. He had an affair and left. He’s living with her and seems happy, but that’s not the real issue. We have four children, all 18 and older. I know we must co-parent, but his take on things that have happened concerning the kids is so different than mine, it’s obvious he’s lying. When I ...Read more
Q. Five years ago my wife passed away suddenly of a heart attack at age 43. I have since met a wonderful woman and we have been seeing each other for three years. My daughter, 14, gets along with her and her 11-year-old daughter very well. We are considering marriage, but within the last year my daughter has changed. She has become self-centered...Read more
Q. My 8-year-old daughter, Jesse, wants to be a sexy witch for Halloween. Her mother thinks it’s perfectly fine, but I don’t want my daughter walking the streets of the neighborhood looking like that. (We live about a mile from each other.) Her mother was offended when I said the costume looks like a hooker — probably not the right way to ...Read more
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