Ask Kari: Should I financially help my elderly father, even though he refused to pay child support to my mother?

Dear Kari,

My father was good to me when I was young; he always worked hard and provided a nice life for my siblings and me. But, when my parents divorced when I was 13 he refused to pay my mother’s child support for us since she initiated the divorce. Now, he is elderly and out of money. He asked me for help paying his living expenses. I don’t know what to do. I am still hurt that he stopped caring for me when I was younger. Should I help him?

Mixed Feelings

Dear Mixed Feelings,

It must have been painful for you to watch your parents’ divorce. And it is difficult for children to see what’s really going on. Today, I think it is important for you to do what you most want to. Do not over think it. I always recommend people make their choices based on their heart and what matters to them in the end. If it is important to you to help you father, then do it. Let go of the experiences of the past. Or, if you feel you cannot, then let it be. Choose from your heart, in this instance that is the only guidance you need.


As published in the June 2013 issue of Connections.


About Kari:

Kari O’Neill, MSW, LICSW, is a licensed independent clinical social worker and a resident of Issaquah Highlands.

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