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Ask Mr. Dad: Fatherhood is full of surprises

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: I just found out that my girlfriend is pregnant. I have no idea what to expect. Can you give me a few hints?

A: Congratulations -- you're in for a long, wild ride! Becoming a dad involves new responsibilities, new pressures, and new expectations to live up to. For some of us, this little jolt of reality comes early, before we ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: 22 discipline ideas that really work, part 2

Parents / Family Living /

Last week I introduced the first 11 of my 22 field-tested strategies for disciplining toddlers. Here are the remaining 11.

Get down to your child's level. When you're talking to your child -- specially to criticize -- kneel or sit. You'll still be big enough that he'll know who the boss is.

Don't lecture. Instead, ask questions to engage the ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: 22 discipline ideas that really work, part 1

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: You've talked about how futile it is to discipline an infant. That makes sense. But what about toddlers?

A: At one time or another, all parents struggle with discipline -- establishing limits, enforcing limits, and getting their kids to speak to them respectfully and do what they're supposed to do. But discipline isn't only about ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Handling separation anxiety, depression

Parents / Family Living /

My ex and I split up about a year and a half ago. I have read that kids do better when both parents are active in their lives, and their mother and I are doing our best, but I'm afraid my kids have separation anxiety. Two days before they're scheduled to go back to their mother's they get very clingy. But, to make matters worse, I think I'm ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Baby brought the blues

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: My beautiful son was born just a few weeks ago and I'm overjoyed. But my wife is a different story. She's very down in the dumps, barely eats, and has no energy. I know that giving birth took a toll on her, but I'm worried. What should I do?

A: About 70 percent of new mothers experience periods of mild sadness, weepiness, mood ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Daughter refuses to stay with mom and new boyfriend

Parents / Family Living /

Q: My ex and I have been broken-up for about seven months now. Our 17-year-old daughter has had a sort of open door policy -- we understand she will be 18 in 6 months and to fight about where she lives just seems silly. Last month my ex moved in with her new boyfriend and our daughter now refuses to stay at her mother's home. Even though she has...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Lines of communication going in the wrong direction

Parents / Family Living /

Q: Last month my husband and his ex called each other over 49 times and texted over 100 times. Here's the kicker, they have one daughter together who is 27. This month they have called 15 times and it is only the first week in June. I approached my husband about this several months ago and told him that communicating that much was not right. He ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Teaching manners: More than please and thank you

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: I'm a little old fashioned, but I believe in manners. When is the right time to teach them to children?

A: In the early stages of parenthood, we don't care much about manners. Our infant's loud burps (and other bodily sounds) usually elicit laughter, and as kids learn to speak, we consider their inadvertent insults or seemingly ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Ten ways to become a better dad

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: I'm about to become a dad for the first time. My dad died when I was young, so I didn't have a good role model. How can I be the best father for my new baby?

A: You already took the first step -- asking for advice. Here are ten more.

-- Be active. If you don't take the initiative, you'll never be able to assume the child-rearing ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: His ex does not believe in co-parenting

Parents / Family Living /

Q: I met the perfect man and his 4 kids about six years ago. His ex does not believe in co-parenting and has told us many times to leave HER kids alone, but that's impossible because they share the kids' time equally -- one week with us, one week with her.

Over the years I usually take the kids shopping for something for their father on Father'...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Helping dad get a handle on his health

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: I'm 15, and my father, who's in his mid-40s, regularly reads your column, which is why I need your help. He barely exercises, eats horribly, is an over-stressed workaholic. I'm afraid he's going to die. What can my mom and I do to get him to take better care of himself?

A: Your email couldn't have come at a better time -- June is ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Tricky Father's Day when dad is just back in son's life

Parents / Family Living /

Q. My son is 14 and I wasn't around for most of his life, but about two years ago I reached out and he responded positively. We are now pretty close, but it's obvious he is even closer to his stepdad, which I think is because he has been around since he was two. Father's Day is right around the corner and I'm scheduled to be with my son, but I ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Eight things women can do to get fathers more involved, part 2

Parents / Family Living /

Last week we talked about five things women can do to get their partners to take on more responsibility in the home, and, in particular, with the children. Here are three more. If you have any suggestions to add to the list, please drop us an email.

1. No gatekeeping. Many women take charge of the household and childcare because they want to be...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Joint custody is difficult to pull off

Parents / Family Living /

Q: My ex-boyfriend and I have been apart since November. We have an 11-month-old daughter. After we broke up, he got a new girlfriend two weeks later. My daughter's dad gets her every other weekend Thursday-Sunday. I have nicely asked this girl to stay away from my daughter, but she is trying to act as the mom! I don't know what to do so she has...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Ex posts 'missing you' letter on Facebook from family pet to son

Parents / Family Living /

Q: My ex and I split up about four months ago. We were together almost ten years and had two sons together. She had an affair, I found out and moved my kids out the next day. She sees the boys intermittently, but it's difficult since she's living with the guy. Yesterday I found an open letter on Facebook from our family pet. The pet lives with ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Eight things women can do to get fathers more involved, part 1

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: Before we had children, my husband and I talked about being equal partners around the house. But I find myself doing a lot more and 50 percent -- especially since what he does do, he doesn't do right. How can I get him to be more involved?

A: For most couples with kids, one of the biggest stressors is the division of labor in the ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Do his kids have to come to our wedding?

Parents / Family Living /

Q: I have a question about weddings. My fiance has two daughters, ages 5 and 7. Do they have to come to our wedding? I really want to start fresh, and besides no kids are invited. What's good ex-etiquette?

A: You're kidding, right? If not, please don't marry this man. You are not right for each other. Any woman he marries must understand it's ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Signs that you're a good parent — even if you think you're not

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: Like a lot of parents, I do my best. But I can't help but think that I could be doing better. How can I tell if I'm doing a good job or not?

A: The fact that you think you're not doing a good job and that you care enough to learn more is a pretty good indication that you are, in fact, a good parent (or at least a good-enough one)....Read more

Ex-etiquette: Talk to ex, ex's wife about co-parenting

Parents / Family Living /

Q. My ex and I have a daughter, 14, and we have co-parented well for years. He remarried and now has three more children. Our daughter stays with him during the week for school and with me each weekend, longer in the summer.

He's very laid-back and his wife really runs the show. I often touch base with her because co-parenting with him is like ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: What adolescents need from their fathers, part 3

Parents / Family Living /

Over the past two weeks, we've been talking about some of the many things teens need from their dad (and/or mom). While this is the conclusion of our series, in reality, there's no end to what our children need from us -- or to how many times you might have to satisfy what looks like the same need. As you know (or soon will), a 13-year-old is a ...Read more


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