DEAR ABBY: I am a single father of three wonderful kids. When my wife and I separated, we agreed to 50/50 custody and a property settlement. Everything went smoothly. A year later I requested, and was granted, full custody of my children. Their mom has visitation, but that's it.
Shortly after my separation, I met a woman and we became good friends. I waited about a year before introducing her to my children because I wanted to make sure I knew her first.
Although we are not "officially" in a relationship, she has been more than willing to step in and help with the children. In a few instances she has disciplined them because of bad behaviors. It usually entails talking to them about what they did wrong and some sort of consequence -- loss of toys or privileges.
When they went to visit their mother and she heard about it, she wasn't happy. She called me very upset saying my friend had no right to discipline our kids. I see nothing wrong with it, but I am second-guessing myself. Some advice, please? -- CONCERNED DAD IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR CONCERNED DAD: If your lady friend's "discipline" ever went further than a talking-to, then their mother is right. Because you have primary custody of the children, YOU should be the parent who levies penalties if they misbehave and a punishment is warranted.