Ex-etiquette: 'My home is so uncomfortable'

Q: My son is 10-years old and quite rambunctious. It was fine before my boyfriend moved in, but now that he lives with us, my son seems to really get on his nerves. My boyfriend has no children of his own, loses his temper and snaps at my little guy when he does something he's not supposed to do. I find myself defending my child to my boyfriend and explaining my boyfriend to my child. My home is so uncomfortable I'm not sure I even want to be there. I love my boyfriend, and I love my son. How do I get them to respect and care for one another? What's good ex-etiquette?


Chris Erskine: He grew up on these pages. So long, son

We lost our oldest son to a car accident early March 4. He was returning from work and the freeway was dark; there had been some sort of collision ahead of him ... a disabled car waiting in ambush. The impact pushed his little gray Civic into another lane, where it was broadsided by an SUV, killing our son instantly.


Ask Mr. Dad: Between life and death, choose life

Dear Mr. Dad: My boyfriend and I have been going out for several years and are quite serious. We've even talked about getting married. We both have adult children from previous marriages, but while I'm very close to my daughters, he's been estranged from his 25-year old son for more than 20 years, ever since he moved out. They've recently started communicating again, which I support completely. The problem is that my father died unexpectedly, and the funeral is the same weekend as a trip my boyfriend had planned with his son. I want him to come with me to the funeral, but he says that he can't (won't) cancel the trip. I'm very angry and my family is too. I don't want to end the relationship, but I don't know what to do.


Living with Children: The power of words

When I began reading "The 9 Words Parents Should Never Say to Their Kids" (January 5, 2018,, I was skeptical that essayist Patrick Coleman's point of view would line up with my own, and I wasn't disappointed. Coleman began by saying that certain words have "overwhelmingly negative consequences" to children but only one of his nefarious nine met my never-say standard.


Why Florida families are moving to Colorado to help their ill children

Like early American pioneers, Richard and Carol Wygand felt the call to head west, to a strange land where they wouldn't know anyone but each other, where the weather would be stinging and colder than they'd ever known. It would be a risk. But earlier this year, they packed up their Wellington home, strapped their son Luke into his car seat, and set out on a long journey to Colorado to start a new life.


Moms Gear: Bluetooth turntable, flashback in time

Pull out your old records from storage and set them up for play on the Victrola Portable Bluetooth Turntable; truly a flashback in time. Some kids may see this set-up, and want to know what 'vinyl' is and why it can be played on three speeds, including 33 1/3, 45, and 78 rpms. However, kids who are familiar with the "scratching" techniques of some DJs will need to be warned that they are not to use your vintage vinyl for practice!


5 ways social media can be a force for good in the lives of kids and teens

From sexting to cyberbullying to FOMO, social media sure has its share of negatives. But, if it's all bad, how did 2,000 students protest their school system's budget cuts? How are teens leading the charge against cyberbullying? How did they organize a national school walkout day to protest gun laws? Easy: savvy use of social media. For a few years now, many teens have been saying that social media – despite its flaws – is mostly positive. And new research is shedding light on the good things that can happen when kids connect, share, and learn online.

Entertainment & Life

Game review: 'The Council: Episodic Tale' will thrill and intrigue older teens

Parents need to know that "The Council" is an episodic, downloadable narrative-focused adventure for Windows, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4. A tale of intrigue and manipulation set during the meeting of a secret society in 1793, this is a game of cunning and careful planning. Although social skills are rewarded and encouraged, it's in the context of manipulating others for your own gain. The flipside of that is the game also rewards you for making sure others truly earn your trust and that you always protect yourself. There are references to and sometimes depictions of torture, poisoning, and gun violence to influence others – the violence isn't graphic but is a consistent element of the plot. The game's camera also seems to go out of its way to show one female character's cleavage. Women are referred to as "sluts," there are also references to rape, and one scene includes elements of seduction and implied sex after the camera fades to black. "S--t" and "hell" are said frequently. Finally, there are also references to consuming absinthe and holistic crystals for supernatural purposes.

Entertainment & Life

App review: Planets Puzzle will delight and entertain elementary schoolers

Planets Puzzle – Game for kids is a unique puzzle game that requires placing character pieces on a rotating planet by matching habitats (easily color-coded). A few levels are timed, which may be stressful for some kids, especially since the puzzle itself is rotating. Advanced levels require sliding/flipping parts of the planet, but the app guides kids through new types of puzzles. Kids must complete a level before unlocking a new level. The app includes 10 levels for free; players can unlock the last 20 levels with an in-app purchase of $2.99. Read the app's privacy policy to find out about the types of information collected and shared.

Sutter's Fort needs roof renovations

Sutter's Fort/state parks officials asked for state budget money to renovate parts of the historic structure that are dilapidated, especially leaking roofs. The money has not been forthcoming.
Renée C. Byer The Sacramento Bee