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Howard Wise
Howard Wise, Counselor
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  Counseling with a compassionate ear and a loving heart.
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How to confront my very defensive step-father for being irresponsible

Customer Question

How to confront my very defensive step-father for being irresponsible by almost loosing our house last year and leaving marijuana out around the house for my brother to try?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Howard Wise replied 2 years ago.
Good evening, this is Howard,

I'm wondering what you hope to achieve by confronting your stepfather about being irresponsible. If you do that, it's quite likely that he will become very defensive, and an argument will ensue.

I'm sure you care about your brother a lot and are worried that he may start using marijuana or other drugs on a regular basis. Rather than confronting your stepfather about this you would do better by educating your brother about the dangers drug usage.

Please feel free to post a follow-up question if you like.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I want my step-dad to become a responsible father and husband-figure. He tells my mom he needs money for his struggling business when he doesnt contribute to the household and he doesnt act like a father most times, he's more like a child. I want him to know that my brother and I hurt when we think about all his selfish actions.
Expert:  Howard Wise replied 2 years ago.
Unfortunately, you do not have the ability to transform your father from a child into a responsible father and husband figure. I know that's very disappointing to you. It's important for you to realize that your mother contributes to your father's behavior. In other words, if your mother were not willing to tolerate his irresponsibility he would have more of an incentive to change. So, if your goal is to change your father, the best approach would be to speak to your mother.

The best way to let your father know that you and your brother are hurt when you think about his selfish actions is to talk to him about your feelings. When you do that, it's important to be sure that he is open to having this type of discussion with you. It's also crucial that when you share your feelings with him you do not attack or blame him. That will only serve to make him defensive. The best approach is to just share your feelings, tell him you're disappointed, and make suggestions as to what he can do differently. If you can do that I think there is a good chance that your father will become aware of how his behavior affects you and your brother, and if he loves you, he will make an effort to change.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thank you so much! I was at a loss of how to approach this very difficult man. But he is our father and we love him. I want to help him, not loose him. Thank you.
Expert:  Howard Wise replied 2 years ago.
You are very welcome! I appreciate your appreciation!

I would enjoy working with you again in the future. If you would like to submit another question to me, please be sure to write my name at the beginning so that I will be the expert who responds.

I would appreciate it if you'd take a look at the instructions at the bottom of of the page next to my signature. Thank you!

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Howard Wise
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Counseling with a compassionate ear and a loving heart.