Home & Leisure

Ask Mr. Dad: Your child is a brat … and it's your fault

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: I'm a single dad with a 9-year-old daughter who's with me half the time. Before the divorce, she was a sweet kid and a pleasure to be around. But lately she's become a terror, throwing tantrums when she doesn't get what she wants -- and I think it's because her mother is spoiling her. How do I deal with her? And what can I say to ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Don't ignore the red flags

Parents / Family Living /

Q: I need advice. When I met my boyfriend, he said he was divorced, but when his ex wanted to move back in, I found out that he wasn't divorced, only separated. He said he was going back for the kids, he has two, but he also wanted to continue to see me. I told him no; make up your mind. He stayed with his wife. I ignored him for a month, but ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Teen girls and dating? Nope. Never. No Way. Okay, maybe

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: My 14-year-old daughter seems to believe that she needs to start dating. She says "all of her friends" are doing it, and feels left out. Fourteen just seems too young. I don't think anyone -- boy or girl -- should start till at least 16. I want to tell her "over my dead body" but I also don't want to be that dad. What can I do?

A:...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Should 4-year-old son attend estranged father's wedding?

Parents / Family Living /

Q: My child's father has only been present upon his own whim. He comes around every so often for an hour or two to make sure our 4-year-old son remembers who he is. He has a girlfriend who is now supposedly his fiance. Ironically, last week he was asking me to go back with him and if I said no he vowed to go through with the marriage. Evidently,...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Sharing holidays with the 'ex' feels unnatural

Parents / Family Living /

Q: So each year when Halloween rolls around your column talks about trick-or treating with your partner's ex and the kids and I always think, "How stupid. Who would really hang with their partner's ex on a holiday?" Well, now I've met someone who has an ex and three kids and they want me to go trick-or-treating with them this year and I'm ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Handling sticky holiday situations

Parents / Family Living /

Q: I have been with a man for 5 years. We're both divorced with kids and amicable ex relationships. He does every single holiday, kid's birthday, and adult birthday with his ex. Also, when his family comes to town, most events will include her. I'm fine with that. I'm always invited and strongly encouraged to attend. Occasionally the out of town...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Book, 'em, Dad-O

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: My 10-year-old son is quite smart and perfectly capable of reading, but it's always been a challenge for him. And unfortunately, his teachers aren't doing very much to help the situation other than send home notes and report cards saying that he's reading below his grade level. My wife and I both read a lot and we've tried ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Co-parenting help needed

Parents / Family Living /

Q: I have had a really hard time dealing with my three- year-old son's father. We have been apart for about a year. Although he's very impatient and gets frustrated easily we have been trying to share our son's time without a formal custody order. My son's father and I agreed we would not cut his hair. When we are in a hurry, I usually just wrap...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: 'Bad dad' can't connect with kids through play

Parents / Family Living /

A: Ok, first off, there's nothing wrong with you -- the fact that you're worried about this aspect of your personality says you're not a bad parent at all. Many of us were raised to believe that good parents play with their kids (and they do). However, the reverse -- that parents who don't get down and dirty with the little ones are bad parents ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Chores? What chores?

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: My husband and I are always reminding our tweens (ages 9 and 12) about their chores. They know exactly what they're supposed to be doing, but that doesn't keep them from "forgetting" -- even if it's something they've done three times a week for the last six months. We've discussed this with some of our friends who have kids about ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Can there be a 'just us' holiday time?

Parents / Family Living /

Q: I've been reading your column for some time. It seems you have been there and always point out things I don't see, so I thought I would ask about my situation. I live around the corner from my husband's ex. They co-parented their two kids -- a week with each parent -- before I got here and following your advice, I just got with the program. I...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Breastfeeding: Can there be too much of a good thing?

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: Our son just turned two and although he's eating plenty of "real" food, I still breastfeed him. My husband thinks it's a bit odd, but several friends and even some coworkers are shocked. Is there a specific age at which I should stop breastfeeding? Am I doing damage by breastfeeding a toddler?

A: Let's start with some background. ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Extramarital affairs have far-reaching affects

Parents / Family Living /

Q: My wife and I recently broke up after 18 years of marriage. It was because I have found someone new and probably didn't handle things as I should, but now my family has broken into factions and everyone is upset and taking sides. I'm at a loss as to what to do. What's good ex-etiquette?

A: Rarely do people who have affairs stop to consider ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: From a child's perspective

Parents / Family Living /

Q: For the past six months my kids have come home from their mother's house and tell me that she fights with her boyfriend all the time. The things they tell me they say are very insulting and since my kids are old enough to know, 10 and 12, I know it must be true. Now they are telling me that they don't want to go back. Since we trade off every...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Sorry, I just don't believe you

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad, My 12-year-old daughter is a liar. I wish it weren't true, but just about everything that comes out of her mouth is a lie. If she tells me she's texting a girl from school, it's probably a boy. If I ask whether she's cleaned her room, she'll look me straight in the eye and tell me, "Yes," even though I know (and she knows I know) ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: The art of baby spacing

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: Our baby is only three months old, but I'm already craving another one! My husband is worried that it might be too much too soon. Do you recommend having two babies this close together? What are the advantages and disadvantages?

A: Unfortunately, there's no right answer, so I can't give you a strong recommendation either way. A ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Taming chaos

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: Help! I have a 14-year-old high-school freshman whose room looks like the aftermath of a hurricane. But as unpleasant as that is, it's not what I'm writing about. The real issue is that she is completely disorganized and can't keep track of her homework, school assignments, and project due dates. Up through middle school, she was ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Whose homework is it, anyway

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: I pride myself on being a very hands-on mom -- I drive my kids to all their events, am active in the PTO, and, yes, I often sit with my kids (who just started 4th and 6th grade) while they do their homework. Sometimes I get a little impatient and I give them an answer or two. School's only been in session two weeks, but I can see ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Free speech for me … but not for thee

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: In one of your columns a while ago, you talked about free speech and the importance of listening to others. I've been having a lot of disagreements lately with my daughter, a college freshman, who demands that I listen respectfully to everything she says, but interrupts and completely dismisses anything I say that she disagrees ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Dogs and babies: Good match or bad?

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: My wife is due to give birth in about two months and we're worried about our dog, a 120-pound Bernese mountain dog who's less of a pet and more a part of the family. We keep hearing that it's dangerous to have a giant dog around a newborn and that we should start looking for a new home for him. Is it? And is there some way to ...Read more


Social Connections



Non Sequitur Mike Smith A.F. Branco Mutts Dilbert Rose is Rose