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What to do about bachelor, needy, socially awkward dad?

I am a Christian and want to honor my dad. However, since we reconnected two years ago and he bought a house 45 minutes away from us, he has become increasingly needy. He doesn't take my advice and this puts my DH and I in harder situations when it comes to helping him.

To give an example: He was looking to move to our state. I suggested that he move in close range to where we are building a house so that as he ages and needs more help, it will be more convenient for us as we have three young children already. Instead, he chose a random house in a crime ridden area (I told him before he bought it about the county information I'd looked up showing recent nearby stabbings) to buy out of foreclosure that is an hour and 30 minutes from where we are building. Now, because he drives trucks and is on the road 5 days a week, he is concerned about his house being broken into and wants us to stop by his house so that people see that "someone is home." He wants us to do this on our way back and forth to the house we are building (we are building it by hand on my husband's two days off a week with three kids under age five in tow). It's only 45 minutes from where we currently live, but once we move, we obviously won't be traveling (if only because of the cost of gas that we can't afford) an hour and a half to sit at their house for a couple of hours - it's hard enough to visit when my dad is there let alone to visit his house when he's not there!

For our mental and physical health, we just can't take on extra right now. I tell him this repeatedly, but requests go on and not just regarding this situation. He'll offer to pay us to help him fix things up around his house or sell his truck, tempting because we're tight on money, but we're also strapped for time right now. He'll borrow our car because he took a trucking job states away and drove his vehicle there and left it! So when he's in town he wants to use our second vehicle, though it has multiple issues that are growing as it gets more miles.

I feel like if there was a magic button or magical words that I could say, he would understand that my husband and I are busy with our kids, my husband's work for meager wages at a grocery store, and building our house. We want to help our family and people in general, but we have a calling to accomplish these others things as well. He makes some kind of time consuming request (and I mean he'll say 5 minutes and it's 30, he'll say, help me sell my truck...and look for another car, I'll come over at 3 and it's 7:00 pm).

As a Christian, should I even make a big deal about this? Is there something I can say? Am I missing something about men or dads that I don't understand that could help me?

Please help!

Answer Question

Asked by LaMama7 at 11:01 PM on Dec. 27, 2013 in Religion & Beliefs

Level 4 (36 Credits)
Answers (11)
  • You made it very clear that he was choosing unwisely. He can hire someone to house sit but that does not have to be you. I understand that he has only been in your life for two years and you do want a relationship with him. Being a christian does not mean being a door mat. When you said your wedding vows you took your husband as the main focus of your life. You brought children into that circle of love and that is your family. You help your father where you can but you can not in conscience put that much stress on your family .

    Answer by Dardenella at 11:10 PM on Dec. 27, 2013

  • Here's a magic word.... NO.
    Being Christian doesn't mean you have to permanently inconvenience yourself.

    Re-connected? Why were you disconnected in the first place?

    Answer by PartyGalAnne at 11:18 PM on Dec. 27, 2013

  • My parents divorced when I was 10. There were semi-custody issues, but I think my dad didn't try that hard to get custody of us. He ended up going his separate way and I didn't see him for about 13 years. We saw each other face-to-face for the first time only a couple of months before a bad trucking accident after which I asked him to come stay with us during his recovery as he was living in hotels from one job to the next driving trucks.

    But I am still looking for magic words - he doesn't seem to respond the way women do to hearing it explained, "We just can't take on any extra responsibilities right now, and we're not very dependable for getting things done in a timely fashion even when we're willing to help."

    Anyone? Tactful approach?

    Comment by LaMama7 (original poster) at 11:23 PM on Dec. 27, 2013

  • You have obviously tried the tactful approach without much success so far. You want to reconnect with your dad, and that's all well and good. Your Christian faith is clearly important to you, and that's fine, too. But it seems apparent that a more blunt way of putting things is in order at this point. As in, Dad, we can't do what you are asking. You've chosen a house that is too far away for us to keep an eye on, especially with young children to look after. You'll need to hire someone else to take care of your house when you're away. I hope you find someone soon, try advertising in the local paper or on We'd really like to see you when you're in town, but we can't lend you our car too often because it's getting pretty old and decrepit. Thanks for understanding.

    Answer by Ballad at 11:50 PM on Dec. 27, 2013

  • You just need to set your boundaries and stick to them. It has nothing to do with being Christian. It has to do with being human. You need to live your life and take care of your family and if there's time and money left then you can help him if you want.

    Answer by jenny3344 at 11:51 PM on Dec. 27, 2013

  • LaMama, I think you've learned why there was a divorce. Your father has NOT grown up. here is ONE magic word. Just one. Two letters:

    N-O. No. No. No.

    Say more than "no" and he will think he can wear you down. No. It's a valid answer, it's a truthful answer and being Crhistamn does NOT mean being a doormat. Honor they fatherโ€ฆ yeah. When he ACTS like a father. THis man is NOT a father! He's a sperm donor and a user.

    Forget polite and tactful. You need to put your kids and husband first.

    Answer by gdiamante at 12:06 AM on Dec. 28, 2013

  • Say no once more and then IGNORE all requests. Hang up. Walk away. Just do it.

    I really don't want to offend you or hurt you but ... your father is simply using you. Anyone can see that you are already in over your head with your own responsabilities and he's trying to unload his on you on top of that. He was absent for 13 whole years. That is a long time to ignore your children. I find it totally disrespectful of him to come back into your life only to use you (because that's what he's trying to do).

    Let's put it this way, if you do the things for him he wants you to do you will be negecting your duties as a parent. You are building a future home for your children, for their security, for their comfort. Why should you lose time on this project to run after a father who makes bad decisions, won't listen, won't accept help that is offered unless it is on his terms. No. Just say no. Make it clear that won't be discussed again

    Answer by goldpandora at 5:08 AM on Dec. 28, 2013

  • This has nothing to do with being christian.

    Next time he asks a favor like house sitting or fixing something, hand him a list of house sitters he can hire or a handy man he can hire. Tell him here are some names you can call to help with this because right now I do not have the time to commit to that dad. LEts get together for dinner one night. Ok? Love you....bye.

    Thats it;)

    Answer by sahmamax2 at 8:15 AM on Dec. 28, 2013

  • You can still honor your father while setting and enforcing boundaries. Saying "no" is very important. Being a Christian does not mean you must let a parent take advantage of you in the name of honoring them.

    Answer by saphire_eyes802 at 9:25 AM on Dec. 28, 2013

  • Fear Not being the "bitch".

    Fear Not "hurting his feelings".

    Fear Not saying "NO".

    Fear Not taking care of you and yours First!!

    Answer by MamaK88 at 10:57 AM on Dec. 28, 2013

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