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Marking 5 Years of “Ask Kari”

Marking 5 Years of Ask Kari

Kari O’Neill is our longest standing resident volunteer writer. She came into Blakely Hall in 2012 with an idea to run an advice column in Connections. She wanted to share her social work and counseling expertise with the community. The column has been a fantastic success, bringing us touching stories and challenges that many can relate to. This February column marks her 5th Anniversary. Thank you, Kari!

Have a question for Ask Kari?

She’d love to hear from you! Please email your question to and put “Ask Kari” in the subject line.

All questions will be answered in an upcoming Connections column. All personal information will remain confidential and not published.

February’s Column

As published in February 2018 Connections

Dear Kari,

Recently I went to my dad’s house for dinner, and I accidently met a woman that I think he is dating, as she was leaving his house when I arrived, and I saw them kiss. This was a shock to me, as I did not even know my dad had was dating, or maybe that he even has a girlfriend. He blew off the whole encounter. My parents have been divorced for five years at this point, so if he is dating I would be fine with it, but I am wondering why he is hiding her from me. What do you think?

Bewildered Daughter

Dear Bewildered Daughter,

It seems that it was both a surprise to you and your father that you met someone he is dating.  I am guessing that he is not ready yet to introduce you two formally. This may be because he is still trying to establish where the relationship is going, and how he feels about her. Based on your parents being divorced for five years already and you have not yet met anyone he liked, he appears to be cautious about who meets his children. Take that as a compliment, as he values you and your time more than having you meet people he barely knows himself. I would follow-up with him and ask him further questions about his dating life, while also sharing with him that you would be open to meeting someone he really cared about.


Dear Kari,

My son came home for the holidays from college and I think he might be using drugs. He spent most of the visit in his room or meeting up with friends outside our house. His mood went really up, and then really down. I kept asking him if he had a cold or was sick, but then it occurred to me that maybe he was using drugs and that is why his eyes were large and his nose was running constantly. How should I approach him about this?


Concerned Father

Dear Concerned Father,

First, I recommend that you approach him with this conversation in person if possible (or at least via Facetime/Skype, not text). Having a crucial conversation like this in person allows for us to better connect and show human emotions to our loved ones. This is important when broaching this important subject matter. State your concerns from his most recent visit home, and then ask him if he is using substances or needs support. Be direct. If he states that the is using substances, I recommend that he follow-up with his doctor/and or a counselor for additional support and treatment. The most important first step is accessing what is going on with your son, if anything, then a plan can be formed with support from you and health care professionals in your community. Good luck! I wish you all well.



This column is for entertainment purposes only. If you are in a crisis and in need of support, please contact the Crisis Clinic at 866-427-4747.

Ask Kari O'Neill

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