DEAR HARRIETTE: My father has horrible time management. This has affected birthdays, trips and family reunions. My family is always a little harsh on each other and tells it how it is, so his lateness is brought up when he forces everyone to wait around for hours. He then gets irrationally angry. We try to make a joke out of this because he never apologizes for missing flights or dinners. He is inconsiderate, and when we try to get together, I think we have the right to berate him a little. My father's fits after we mention his tardiness usually start fights. I doubt he'll change his ways, but I just want him to apologize for being inconsiderate to everyone who actually showed up on time. Is there anything we can say to get him to be punctual? -- Late Dad, Memphis, Tennessee
DEAR LATE DAD: Now is a time when you must practice acceptance. You know how your father is. He is consistent. While his behavior is rude, it is also a fact. You and your family may want to consider planning your activities differently. Since your father is unreliable, plan with the expectation that he will be late, but that you will no longer wait. So if you are having a group dinner at a home or a restaurant, begin at the time that it is scheduled. If he arrives hours late, he will have to fit into the flow of the event. You can tell him that dinner will be at 7. If he arrives at 9, he is welcome to join you for dessert. If he misses a flight, tell him he will have to join the group later because you will fulfill your scheduled activities with or without him.
The point is, you don't need to berate him. You need to live your lives. Instead of putting your lives on hold waiting for his arrival, flip the script.