Q: My ex moved out six years ago. We have two daughters he saw every other weekend. They are now 18 and 20. My ex remains a “functional alcoholic” but his more debilitating addiction is pornography. Since my daughters only saw their dad every other weekend, they were unaware of his addictions. When my older daughter left for college we discussed the alcoholism. As the younger one leaves this fall, it’s time both know about their addiction history. Alcohol I can explain. How do I discuss porn’s dangers and addictiveness while respecting their love for their dad?

A: How to discuss porn’s dangers and addictiveness while respecting their love for their dad? There’s a red flag here. You have been divorced for six years, and we know it’s rare divorced couples have candid discussions about how they’re addressing their problems. Don’t be presumptuous. Your ex could be in the process of dealing with his addiction and you just don’t know it. You are using good ex-etiquette when you understand that the specifics are Dad’s truth to tell.

With this in mind, it may not be necessary to give the kids a laundry list of what you perceive their father’s additions to be. Better to explain that addiction takes many forms, from drugs and alcohol to gambling, shopping and porn — and it’s not uncommon for those facing addiction to be “addicted” to more than one thing. Talk about the behaviors and what to look out for in their own lives. Answer their questions honestly and always acknowledge their love for their father. There are lots of helpful books available. Finally, just in case there are specifics that you have not included; we always suggest you consult a professional who knows your family background.