Ask Mr. Dad: Enjoy the water and safety this summer

Dear Mr. Dad: My 4-year old twins are crazy about swimming or floating or doing pretty much anything in and around water. On one hand, I'm thrilled. I swam in high-school and college, and I'm looking forward to having them follow in my footsteps. On the other, I'm scared. I'm a stay-at-home mom, and there is no way I can keep an eye on them every second. How do we make our house water safe?


Ex-etiquette: Dad upset to find ex, son in his house after school

Q. I came home from work early yesterday and found my ex and our 10-year-old son in my house. They were sitting in his room talking, but I think it was wrong that she was there. We have not been together for two years, and our son spends a week with me and a week with her. She does not have a key, it's not even a house we have lived in together, but there she was comfortably lying on our son's bed talking about his day. How do I handle this? What's good ex-etiquette?


Living with Children: Is teen smoking due to anxiety, or is it peer pressure?

Q: We just discovered that our 17-year-old is using nicotine. He tells us he's been using for the past several months, smoking two to four cigarettes a day to cope with academic anxiety and relationships. He tends to be socially reserved and has been struggling with academics of late. He appears contrite and remorseful and has said, "I should never have gotten started with this stuff in the first place." On the other hand, he's also confessed that the only reason he would quit is because it upsets us. Can you give us some insights into this problem and tips on how to assist him in his recovery?


A father's gift can come in unexpected packages

Forty years ago, when I was fresh out of college and not sure what to do with myself, my father gave me some advice. I had job applications out to what seemed like every newspaper in Southern California. Waiting tables, atrociously, in a Mexican restaurant was not my dream job. I was temporarily living in my dad's condo. I needed a mission beyond slinging the No. 4 combo and margaritas. I can still hear his words today, challenging and sympathetic.


Quick, she's being cute again: How to capture those pet poses

Your pet is doing that thing again. It's the cutest thing ever, and it must be snapped, shared and forever immortalized on social media. Cats and Dogs of Instagram, here we come. But what happens? Just as you reach for the camera to compose the killer shot, your subject bolts. The moment is gone forever, as are your dreams of Instagram stardom.

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Home & Garden

Garden products to help us enjoy the summer

The promise of spring - tender seedlings, the first sight of a butterfly, that itch to dig in the dirt - has turned into the realities of summer. We face hours of yard work, our feeders are pillaged by hungry squirrels, and clouds of voracious mosquitoes darken the sky. Thankfully, there are solutions to those problems. And there are other nifty products out there to enhance one's outdoor experience. Here are a few:


How to teach your children to be kind

Kelli N. Moore of Atlanta felt she needed to hear more positive stories, more examples of kindness. So she decided to start a blog in 2012 to share stories and advice on how to encourage people to be kind, and also to have discussions about what does it really mean to be a kind person. Her blog's mantra is "be kind, even when it's really hard."

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