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Ask Amy: This man is ‘Daddy’ by any other name

DEAR AMY: My ex and I have a son who is almost 6 years old. My child’s father never sees him. I am married to a man who is wonderful. He sees and treats my son as if he were his own. My son calls him “Daddy” and his real father by his first name, “Glen.” I am okay with this because it was his choice to call my husband “Daddy.”

The only problem is that now he wants to know why his real dad doesn’t love him and why he is never around. I try not to say anything bad about his real dad, but it is hard to bite my tongue. His real dad just wants to party and has said several times, “Your ‘new man’ can take care of things.” How do I explain this to my son? -- Confused Mommy

DEAR MOMMY: This is a conversation you will have in various forms throughout your son’s childhood. Keep your statements simple and age-appropriate.

You can reassure and comfort your son by saying, “ ‘Glen’ was your daddy before you were born, but he is making a choice not to be around now. This isn’t because he doesn’t love you. He just doesn’t know how to be a dad. I’m so happy we have ‘Daddy’ around because he loves us both very much, and he shows us this every day.”

Try to stop using the term “real dad.” A real dad is a dad who does the real fathering.

If your ex isn’t around, doesn’t contribute to the family and doesn’t care to be in your son’s life, you might want to explore the idea of having your husband adopt your son. That’s as real as it gets.

DEAR AMY: I am a second-semester college freshman. I have developed a very close friendship with my roommate and one of my neighbors. The three of us get along very well and have decided to live together next year.

In addition to these two girls, I spend a fair amount of time with a friend of mine from high school. Until recently, I was operating under the assumption that my friend from high school would continue to live with her current roommate next year. However, this roommate is transferring to another school.

My friend does not seem to have any other close friends who live on campus, so I do not know who she would live with next year other than me. As much as I care for my high school friend and value our friendship, I do not want to be around her 24/7.

Additionally, the other two girls that I want to live with have expressed concern because they do not know her very well and often feel awkward in her presence because she is rather shy. How can I tell her that I do not want to live with her without ruining our friendship? -- Reluctant Roommate

DEAR RELUCTANT: Being shy shouldn’t be such an impediment to living together. One great thing about college is that it is a time to encounter and learn to cope with all sorts of different people.

I can’t offer you guarantees about your friendship. Your intention is to reject someone, and rejection stings and tends to affect relationships.

If you are certain you don’t want to room with her, you should tell her right away. Tell her that you’ve already set up your housing for next year and you can’t change it.

DEAR AMY: I’m responding to the letter from “Eager to be Employed,” who was asked in a job interview if she had children.

I put on my resume that I have two children and that this gives me ample experience being responsible and in charge.

I’ve received many more responses to this resume than I have to previous versions that didn’t include this information. -- Savvy Mom

DEAR SAVVY: Your choice to include this was a good calculation on your part, but potential employers should not ask about kids in a job interview.

I always used to include my ancient experience as a lounge singer on a resume; sure enough, this was always asked about first.

Write to Amy Dickinson at or Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611.

2012 by the Chicago Tribune

Distributed by Tribune Media Services

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