Ask Mr. Dad: Turning chaos to order; or at least to less chaos

Dear Mr. Dad: My 13-year-old son is, to put it nicely, a disorganized pack rat and his room looks like a cyclone went through it. But that's not what worries me. The bigger problem is that he doesn't keep track of his school assignments and due dates. Consequently, he either waits 'til the last second to get things done, turns them in late, or doesn't do them at all. He's a smart kid, and despite all of this, he manages to get pretty good grades. But he's starting high school next year and I don't think there's any way he'll be able to maintain this level of chaos in his life and still do well enough to get into a good college. How can I get him more organized?


Chris Erskine: Silly things that soothe

Tell me, what's the statute of limitations on Christmas pajamas? How many months can you wear the pair your daughter gave you because they mean a little extra? Silly and flannel, dopey little Santa faces everywhere. Warm as chowder.


Ex-etiquette: Leave photos in kids' rooms or start packing

Q: I have been dating my guy for about a year. He has been divorced for two years and has two kids, ages 8 and 11, that he has half the time. A month ago he asked me to move in, and I was over the moon. Here's my problem: The kids have pictures of their mom in their rooms. It bugs me. It's my house now. Why do I have to look at pictures of my guy's ex? I've asked him to take them out of their rooms, but he has refused. What's good ex-etiquette?


The importance of teaching kids to be kind to pets

The Kuerner brothers, John, 4, and Will, 6, had fun last summer gathering branches and leaves for bird nests, touching real bird feathers and gathering nuts and berries for wildlife - all as part of a Backyard Buddies program at PAWS in Seattle.


Babies by the book

My wife, Elaina, loves babies. She loves to have them, to hold them, to nurse, and to stroll them. She knows everything there is to know about kids, it seems to me, including the best brands of strollers, baby wraps and baby and kid fashion, as well as a number of other topics about which I remain blissfully ignorant.


Book review: 'Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat,' exuberant bio celebrates art and creative freedom

Parents need to know that "Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat" is a bio of Basquiat, who grew up in Brooklyn, N.Y., the son of a Haitian dad and Puerto Rican mom. By his 20s he was an art star, hanging with Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, and Madonna. He played hard and died young of a drug overdose, information that's dealt with in an Author's Note. The bio emphasizes the support Basquiat got from his mom, as well as the challenges he faced, including his mom's mental illness. The book's written and illustrated by Javaka Steptoe ("In Daddy's Arms I Am Tall: African Americans Celebrating Fathers"), who understands the challenges. His own dad, John Steptoe, was an award-winning illustrator who died young, and his mom suffered from mental illness. Steptoe illustrates the book in his own vibrant style, incorporating trademark elements of Basquiat's art, and his empathy shines through.


Game review: Run your own racing team in 'Motorsport Manager'

Parents need to know that "Motorsport Manager" is a strategic simulation game in which players have to manage aspects of a racing team. There's no sex, violence, or profanity, save for one use of the word "ass." While drivers occasionally talk about enjoying an alcoholic beverage, they're never shown drinking.


Social Security: Retirement planning

It's 2017, and that means you might be one more year closer to retirement. Whether you're at your very first job or wrapping up a successful career, there are always new things to learn about when it comes to saving for the future. So why not make retirement planning part of your New Year's resolution!


App review: StoryCorps makes capturing and sharing family stories a breeze

Parents need to know that the StoryCorps app is a platform for planning, conducting, and sharing oral history interviews that can be cataloged in the Library of Congress. StoryCorps is broadcast weekly on NPR and is available as a podcast. Through the app, listeners can hear featured stories that have been curated or listen to any stories created by other users and shared in a social media-style feed. The terms of use specify that users should be 18 or that those over 13 but under 18 have a parent's permission, but it's definitely possible for kids under 13 to operate the app successfully. Teens can create and record interviews but not share them publicly. Read the app's privacy policy to find out about the types of information collected and shared.


Keep your eyes on fireworks safety

Every Fourth of July, emergency departments see an influx of injuries caused by fireworks. Mayo Clinic experts say the hands, face and eyes are particularly vulnerable.
Courtesy: Mayo Clinic
Keep your eyes on fireworks safety 1:00

Keep your eyes on fireworks safety

Inside peek at the new Clemson Football Operations Facility 3:09

Inside peek at the new Clemson Football Operations Facility

Confederate Flag will not go back up in York County courtroom 2:01

Confederate Flag will not go back up in York County courtroom

Rock Hill man pleads guilty in 2015 crime spree; prosecutors say he shot wrong man 1:20

Rock Hill man pleads guilty in 2015 crime spree; prosecutors say he shot wrong man