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Ex-etiquette: Setting boundaries with an ex

Parents / Family Living /

Q. My wife is still very dependent on her ex. He is very handy and I am not. When something needs to be fixed around the house, she calls him for advice and he usually just comes over and fixes it. I tell her to just call a repair man and she says it's a waste of money. Her kids like him to come over, but I find the whole set up embarrassing. ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: A Valentine from beyond the grave

Parents / Family Living /

Q. This sounds like a movie script, but my wife of three years has received a Valentine from her deceased husband every year since we have been married. I guess he set it up with a service or something before he died, but, like clockwork on, or the day before, my wife receives a Valentine's Day card proclaiming her deceased husband's undying ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: 2 things that cause after-breakup havoc

Parents / Family Living /

Q. My ex cheated 10 years ago. We had been married for more than 20 years and it was quite a shock. My daughter was 15 and also hurt very badly by his indiscretion. I've forgiven him as a person and we're very good friends, but I have no desire for reconciliation. My daughter, now 25, sees us together and thinks the ease in which we relate means...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: The dad effect: There's more to fatherhood than what's in dad's wallet

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: I've gotten into some heated arguments with friends and family about the importance of fathers in their children's lives. I know you've talked about that a lot. Could you summarize some of the benefits so I can make a stronger case?

A: For many decades, conventional wisdom told us that when it came to child development, mothers ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Favoritism is often at the root of family problems

Parents / Family Living /

Q: Please settle an argument. My wife will barely talk to me at this point and I don't know what to do. I have one son that lives on the other side of the country. He visits every summer for three months and also on a break here and there. He was here over Christmas break and all hell broke loose. My wife says her kids resent me -- and him -- ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Holidays can be hectic

Parents / Family Living /

Q: I remarried two years ago. I have been working quite well with my husband's ex-wife, but we just hit a roadblock over the holidays and would like your take on things. Last year the holidays were easier to navigate because my kids schedule matched my husband's kids' schedule, but this year there were all sorts of changes that had to be made ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Mourning your ex

Parents / Family Living /

Q: My children's father died last week. He was 55 and no one expected it -- most unexpectedly, me, and I am surprised how hard I am taking it. We had both moved on to happy relationships and remained congenial for the kids, but his passing has thrown me. I'm not sure how I should I be feeling or what to do. Do I reach out to his wife? Do I ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Drug addiction is rough for both sides

Parents / Family Living /

Q: My ex and I were together a long time. We blended our families, but after 12 years of clean and sober living, she started using drugs again after being laid off from her job. Drug use is my boundary and she knew it. Our kids are now in high school -- one in college, as well, and I just don't know how to face the fact that we are breaking up. ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Friendship rules for kids on the spectrum

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: My 13-year old son has Autism Spectrum Disorder. He's such a great kid -- smart, athletic, good looking -- but has a lot of trouble making friends. I've seen other kids exclude him and I know he feels rejected, which makes him not even want to try to connect with others. I feel sad to see him so lonely. Isn't there something we can...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Slow children playing. Really, slow…

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: The Olympics are just around the corner and I've been wondering whether American athletes are going to compete, given the epidemic of childhood obesity that we keep hearing about. If our kids are so out of shape, how will we ever be able to compete?

A: Back when I was in the fourth grade, I was one of the fastest kids in my school...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Easing back into school

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: My 14-year-old (high-school freshman) son is completely stressed out. In the past, he always looked forward to school, but for the past few weeks, he's been saying that he doesn't want to go. What can I do to help him?

A: For some kids, going to school is no big deal. But for plenty of others, like your son, it's incredibly ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Why 'good enough' is 'exactly enough'

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: My husband and I just divorced, as amicably as possible. We've heard a lot about how children in divorced families act out, get bad grades in school, take drugs, have all sorts of mental health problems, and on and on. Frankly, both of us are worried that our children are never going to recover. Despite the divorce, we both want to...Read more

Ex-etiquette: My relatives stay in contact with my ex

Parents / Family Living /

Q: I was divorced about four years ago. It was a short marriage, maybe three years. Of course, I introduced my then husband to friends and family. They all liked him, and some were disappointed by the divorce. After the divorce I moved out of state and stay in contact with everyone by phone and through social media. I was surprised to see a very...Read more

Ex-etiquette: His old love notes keep popping up

Parents / Family Living /

Q: I moved into my boyfriend's home about 8 months ago. He's lived by himself for ten years. He works nights and I'm alone. He has tons of books in our bedroom, formally his room. I've begun to read them at night before I go to bed. Evidently some of the books were presents from past girlfriends because there are cards and notes in a few of them...Read more


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