Ex-etiquette: My husband's ex wants to borrow my dress

Q: I have been trying to cultivate a more casual relationship with my husband's ex. We share the kids's time in 7-day blocks – a week with us and a week with her and I figured a more casual interaction would help the cause. But, yesterday she asked to borrow my favorite dress for an event we'll both attend. She knows I won't be wearing it – I just wore it to an occasion, so she wants to. I don't want to be THAT good of friends, but I'm afraid if I say no because it might upset my bonusdaughter. She's so happy her mom and I get along. What's good ex-etiquette?


Living with Children: What to do if your 17-year-old is flunking out

Q: Our 17-year-old son is flunking his junior year in high school. Flunking is not a possibility; it is a definite, a done deal. He has passed the point where he could turn this around. He's very intelligent and made reasonably good grades until his sophomore year. He's not depressed in the least, he doesn't do drugs or drink, has lots of friends (all of whom are going to be seniors next year), and his teachers all like him despite his poor performance. He participates in class discussion but does not complete assignments and doesn't study for tests. The school said they could promote him if we agree to have him classified as a "special needs" child (as in ADHD) who needs accommodations, but we refused. So, he doesn't have enough credits to be a senior and will have to repeat most of his junior classes. We are at wits end. He wants to go to summer school where he can make up some if not most of the classes he flunked, but we have plans for the summer and aren't about to make the whole family sacrifice because of his irresponsibility. He responds by threatening to drop out of school and go into the Army. We hope you have some ideas we haven't thought about or already tried.


Ask Mr. Dad: What adolescents need from their fathers

Dear Mr. Dad. I'm the dad of 12-year old boy-girl twins. I've already noticed that my relationship with them has changed, but I want to make sure I'm doing everything I can to stay involved as they enter the teen years. What do they need most from me and how can I gently steer them in the right direction?


App review: Fruit Punch Music delivers tunes parents and preschoolers will truly enjoy together

Parents need to know that Fruit Punch Music is a kid-friendly music-streaming service with music that can appeal to older kids and parents, too. Stations include themes like "Popcorn and Candy" for movie soundtracks "Top 40: Pop" for current radio-hits (filtered for kid-appropriateness), as well as stations devoted to music from Disney stars or Nickelodeon shows. For more parent- and teen-friendly music, there are stations with music from the '70s, '80s '90s, and '00s. Users can only skip six songs per hour, but you can switch channels as often as desired. Parents can filter stations and set a daily time limit (up to two hours), and they can reset the day's usage. Read the app's privacy policy to find out about the types of information collected and shared.


Game review: 'God of War,' bloody myth-based adventure is a 5-star experience for mature players only

Parents need to know that "God of War" is a violent and bloody action game for the PS4. Using sharp weapons, his fists and feet, and his son's bow and arrow, the main character kills numerous people, monsters, and animals, sometimes in brutal fashion, resulting in bloodshed, gore, and dismemberment. Profanity in the game includes "s--t," "f--k," and "a--hole." One character constantly uses crude language when interacting with other characters, mainly in a store setting. This is the latest installment in the popular franchise, and the first one on the PS4. While controls are different than previous games, they're easy to learn, and there are multiple difficulty levels to reduce frustration for players.


Why the best parental control is you

If your kid's online, there have probably been times when you've wanted to track everything they've texted, see their entire social media history, or just shut off the internet entirely. Those are the times you wish for the perfect parental controls – something that will grant you all the access and authority you want without making a bad situation worse. The truth is, while clicking a few buttons on a hardware device or downloading a monitoring service seem like no-brainers, the most effective parental control is free and knows your kid very well. That's right: It's you. Digital tools and settings can help you stay on top of your kid's online life, but can't replace staying involved, having conversations, and helping them make responsible choices. Need more convincing? Here are the key reasons why you are the best parental control around:


Book review: 'The Poet X,' stunning, haunting story about finding your voice and power

Parents need to know that Elizabeth Acevedo's New York Times bestseller "The Poet X" is a coming-of-age story that deals with a teen girl, Xiomara, growing up as a thoroughly American young woman with a developed body in a deeply religious immigrant home. There are instances of street harassment, parental abuse, religious discussions, sexual exploration (some kissing, and one scene of heavy petting), and the revelation of a character being gay. Xiomara hits boys who ogle and grope her and also fights boys who threaten her brother. As punishment, her mother makes her kneel on uncooked rice and hits Xiomara, causing injury. Parents should be prepared to talk about agency, finding your voice, religious texts and meaning.


Un-bore your chores

Mary Poppins got Jane and Michael to pitch in by making work fun. You can too! Just channel your own mommy magic with these ideas.

See for yourself why nice matters in Emerald Isle!

The Town of Emerald Isle debuted this promotional video in May 2017 to illustrate everything that makes their town great. On April 6, 2018 USA Today named the isle the best beach in North Carolina.
Town of Emerald Isle