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How can I forgive my dad for neglecting our family?

He was never around when we were young and my mom did everything. Now that he is older and needs help none of us kids want anything to do with him but I feel guilty about it.
Status: Open    Mar 09, 2015 - 07:45 AM


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Mar 12, 2015 - 06:59 AM

First, know that you are not alone. It is an emotionally challenging position to have to suddenly provide for a parent who was abusive or neglectful. It says a lot about you as a person that you still feel the desire to help your father.

As for forgiving your father, the best advice I can give you is to seek counsel from those who are close to you. Talk to your spouse or anyone who fulfills the role of counselor. I would highly recommend discussing the situation with a spiritual advisor if you are religious.

That being said, it also may be your calling to be the next of kin who provides your father with the help he needs. This doesn't necessarily mean forgiving him right away and moving him in with you. Instead, I would counsel you to think of yourself as a type of social worker for him - to research and organize the available options and assist in making the best decision that promotes his health, safety and dignity. Only you can determine what level of assistance you are willing and able to provide.

If you have a spouse, ask him/her for assistance in the process as it becomes emotionally challenging; they will often provide advice as an objective observer. If you simply cannot assist, ask for help from the social workers or sales people you talk with. Let them know your position candidly. You may need to sign paperwork or make final decisions, but you may be surprised at how much decision-making assistance they can provide in the process. Ultimately, keep in mind the goal that we try to achieve for every senior: health, safety, dignity.

I think that your challenge is worthy of a book of ideas for assistance and I could keep writing and writing. I hope these couple points help as you decide what is best for you.
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