Q: I have had a really hard time dealing with my three- year-old son's father. We have been apart for about a year. Although he's very impatient and gets frustrated easily we have been trying to share our son's time without a formal custody order. My son's father and I agreed we would not cut his hair. When we are in a hurry, I usually just wrap it up into a bun. Yesterday his father couldn't manage it, so he got angry and took him to a barber who cut his hair in a classic boy's haircut. When his father dropped him off, our son burst into tears. Aside from being furious that my ex took this into his own hands without discussing it with me, evidently, he did not explain things adequately to our little boy, either, and he thought he was in trouble. In my child's best interest, I think he needs a break from his dad. What's good ex-etiquette?

A: My first suggestion is to always talk to the other parent before you do anything, but if dad's fuse is as short as you describe, I can only suspect talking may fall on deaf ears. I still suggest you try. Your child needs both of his parents.

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