Q. My ex was in the service and traveled all over the world. He recently retired and settled in Hawaii, where he was last stationed. We had one child who lived predominantly with me but was attached at the hip to his father whenever he came home. We broke up last year. I stayed in California and he stayed in Hawaii. We had an agreement that our ...Read more
Q: My wife and I are more than willing to take care of my aging father, but he's always been a proud man, and we don't want to crush his spirit. How do we protect him against the feeling that he's becoming useless?
Jim: According to researchers, most older people measure their personal worth by how well they meet three goals: 1) dependability; ...Read more
Dear Family Coach: My 9-year-old son seems to be getting into more trouble at school this year. He's not the one who starts the fooling around, but he is definitely a joiner. He doesn't want to miss out on being with his buddies. His behavior is not affecting his grades, as he is a good student. But what's the best way to remedy his ...Read more
Dear Family Coach: My 6-year-old daughter hits either me or her brother when she gets frustrated or doesn't get her way. I've tried everything to teach her that hitting isn't acceptable. She always has excellent behavior at school. I'm a single mother who works, and I try my best. What am I doing wrong? -- Punching Bag Mom
Dear Mom: Your ...Read more
Question: My son just turned five and is starting to ask various questions about parents including why some people have two parents and he only has one. About two months before he turned two, his "donor" said he wasn't “feeling it” (his exact words) with him and didn't want to participate in his life anymore. How can I explain that to my ...Read more
Dear Mr. Dad: I always seem to be hearing about children who are seriously injured (or worse) in their own houses. We just brought our new baby home from the hospital, but I want to start getting our house childproofed right now. How should we start and what should we do?
A: When it comes to your child's safety, there's no such thing as too ...Read more
I've told this story many times -- and I'd like to tell it again to hit home that I personally understand how hard it is to practice good ex-etiquette. That's the reason I came up with the ten rules -- I needed a rule book to remind me to put the children first. (Ex-etiquette for parents rule No. 1) when dealing with all the exes in my life. So....Read more
Q: I'm a busy working man. I know I should be spending more time with my family, and I really want to. But I'm stumped as to how I can fit it all in; there's just no place to cut anything. What can I do?
Jim: There's a hard truth that we sometimes have to face: We can always make time for whatever is most important to us. Once you decide what ...Read more
The Fantastic Phantasmic Detective AgencyD.L. Dugger
Abby, Toby, and Billy are ordinary detectives with extraordinary clients: G-G-Ghosts!
It's just another summer day of hunting frogs for twelve-year-old Billy, Abby, and Toby, when they stumble upon a deserted lake cabin and meet Mary, a real live ghost, ...
Dear Family Coach: My daughter is a freshman in high school. She's addicted to makeup and wears it all the time. Sometimes she just plays around with it in her room for fun. She's gotten quite good at it. But her complexion is deteriorating. She doesn't seem to care, even as she breaks out. What can I do to get her to wear less makeup and care...Read more
There's no greater loss than the death of a child. Included this week is a helpful, empowering book for bereaved parents and a group of books to help children deal with the loss of a loved one.
"Surviving My First Year of Child Loss: Personal Stories from Grieving Parents" by Nathalie Himmelrich; Reach for the Sky; $17.99
This incredibly ...Read more
Dear Family Coach: I've always been a very involved dad. But now that my children are in sixth and ninth grade, they no longer need me. I'm constantly begging them to do something with me, and when they can't, I make them feel guilty. I don't mean to do it. I'm just so sad they are so busy. I'm feeling rejected. What can I do to make the kids ...Read more
I am sometimes asked if I think the “parenting pendulum” is swinging back, however slowly, toward where it was sixty-plus years ago or at least toward a tolerable middle point.
Before I answer the question, the reader should understand that prior to the psychological parenting revolution of the late 1960s and 1970s, there was no periodic ...Read more
Dear Mr. Dad: I read your column on grammar mistakes, and I honestly don't know what the big deal is. You're obviously an elitist snob, so it makes a difference to you. But, what about the rest of us? Why should we care?
A: The response to last week's column on grammar mistakes was huge, and while a few readers agree with your assessment that I...Read more
Q. My wife is trying to get me to pay for all the divorce costs. We were married for two years. The wedding ring from our marriage is a family heirloom from my mother's side. I think my wife and I should split the cost of our divorce and when I told her that, she handed me the ring and said, "This should pay for anything I owe you." Our marriage...Read more
Dear Family Coach: Lately, all of the news is having a disastrous effect on me. Every day, I become more and more depressed about world events, tragic shootings, police brutality and natural disasters. There is suffering all around, and I'm feeling hopeless. At the same time, I'm trying to protect my kids and put on a happy face. I worry I'm ...Read more
Kids ages of 8 to 12 or 13 can seem happy and well-adjusted on the outside but be full of fears and insecurities on the inside. These books help them see that other kids face the same challenges and that, by all means, they're normal no matter what. They also star boys, a demographic that's becoming harder and harder to reach with books.
Q: After two years of chemotherapy for acute lymphocytic leukemia, our 6-year-old daughter is now in remission. We’ve recently noticed she has difficulty focusing and staying on task. Otherwise, she is bright, happy and well-behaved. Her physician told us that chemotherapy involves neurotoxins that can cause focusing issues in children....Read more
Dear Family Coach: My 15-year-old daughter believes she is in love. Despite our objections, she says that she will see her "boyfriend" no matter what we say. I don't allow dating until age 16. And I think in my daughter's case, it needs to be more like 17 or 18. She struggles with depression and is very rebellious, disorganized and very naive....Read more
Q: My daughter's father was verbally abusive when we were together and continues to be to this day. Exchanging our child is the worst! Just yesterday he stood in the middle of the street and yelled profanities at me. I have tried to get along with him for years. He blames it on me. I blame it on him. We just can't co-parent. What's good ex-...Read more
Dear Readers: Those of you who've been reading this column for a while know that I'm something of a language purist. That said, I understand that English is constantly changing and try to stay current on the latest vocabulary words -- the folks at Merriam-Webster add about 1,000 every year -- and the ways we use them (five years ago, who had ...Read more