General Question

Brenna_o's avatar

What should I do about my dad and I fighting?

Asked by Brenna_o (1754points) August 24th, 2010

My dad and I constantly fight. We try to talk things out but it never works. It always esclates to yelling, then “im always the bad guy” (from him), and it keeps on getting worse and worse from there. We fight about stupid things like I dont do “enough” when I often do more them him and my mom do, and stupid crap like that. What should I do about this?? And talking to him doesnt help he gets pissed at me.

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38 Answers

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

Fighting isn’t about getting a point across, it is what happens when you lose control of your emotions. Every time you fight, you strengthen the mental association that Dad = Fight. Next time do your best to remain calm, whatever it costs you, and consider the potential effect of every sentence on him. Make sure nothing you say can be used to feign offence or as ammunition against you.

Just remember, if he doesn’t get your point then you lose. If you fight, you both lose.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Improve your listening skills without the need to defend your position. Do this and watch it have the same affect upon others.

Basically, do what @FireMadeFlesh suggests.

Siren's avatar

Depending on your age, I recommend what @FireMadeFlesh said and stay calm. This shows you are “maturing” in his eyes and “growing up”. It is hard for anyone to be anything but logical in the face of a calm, composed individual. Sometimes the best battles are won through silent opposition, not through challenging dialogue. Parents at that age want you to listen to them because they don’t think you are mature enough to “get it”. When you argue less (I know it can be hard, especially if they’re wrong) to them it signals maturity. Go figure.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Shall we award the vexatious with anything less than golden silence?

Brenna_o's avatar

@Siren Im 17. 18 in january

skfinkel's avatar

Does he drink? And can you tell if these arguments might be connected to alcohol consumption?

Brenna_o's avatar

@skfinkel No nobody dribk here.. He’ll just randomly be in a bad mood and we’ll fight. It seems he only fights with me, and not my 3 brothers. My middle brother some but not as much as me.
And tonight he said I need to change myself so other people will think differently about me.. That hurt ALOT.

Mike1969's avatar

Well, I’m a little biased, but you asked… I’m a Father too.

Here’s a thought. Do what your Father asks/tells you to do. Then… viola…. no more arguments. I’m sorry that my answer isn’t going to make you happy, but if you were my child, there would be NO arguments… as long as you lived in my house, you would do what I told you to do, end of story. Now… if your Dad’s not a good person, then you will have to try and negotiate with him, but bottom line if he’s not asking/telling you to do anything illegal, then you have to mind him and do as he says as long as you’re a minor. If he’s asking/telling you to do something that you think is illegal or abusive, then call the police.

Brenna_o's avatar

@Mike1969 It usually starts with my dad yelling at me

aprilsimnel's avatar

I need to change myself so other people will think differently about me

That’s, at the very least, an unconstrucuctive thing to say to anyone, much less a parent to a child.

Treating people with respect and kindness is what counts. I’m very sorry he said that to you.

Don’t fight with him. Keep quiet and calm when he starts yelling. Perhaps once he lets it all out, what ever it is, it will be over. Usually, when people are yelling like that, it has nothing to do with you.

Do exactly what @FireMadeFlesh says to do. I went through something similar with my guardian from at least 8 years old until I left the house; she’d come home from work every day looking to offload anger and things she couldn’t do or say to her bosses or co-workers, and would start yelling and carrying on at me. Were I in your shoes, I’d be making plans to get out of there as soon as I could, getting a job, saving up and getting an apartment ASAP after 18.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@Mike1969 Avoiding arguments is not about what you do. A parent/child relationship is not like an employer/employee relationship. An employer only cares that the job is done satisfactorily, but a parent wants their child to be as they should be on every level. The OP doesn’t sound like a wayward child, and her father doesn’t seem to be acting out of concern, although that concern almost certainly exists. It sounds as if the arguments stem from preconceptions, a mutual feeling that the other does not respect the self, and a general lack of ability to express themselves. The key here is to improve communication so each understands the other’s good intent, not to force one or the other to act in a particular way.

CMaz's avatar

How about… Don’t.

Engineer conversation to be generalized as to not provolone (provoke) argumentative discussion.
If it goes that way, re-direct it.

Takes practice. My dad can (use to) be that way. But I learned to accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative.

ashsaintsfan's avatar

me and my daddy went through the same thing…it took me leaving the house to make him realize everything wasnt my fault. but my advice would be to challenge his accusations and make sure he knows how much he is hurting you. im sorry girl :/

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@Brenna_o It appears to me that the real issue is he has some disappointment in you somewhere. I have friends and relatives that I can’t speak with because they figure I am squandering my talents or that they can’t catch me being wrong because I am smart enough not to try to pass of info a 100% correct unless I can back it up. When your father starts in, just say “OK, I am not going to yell when we can talk civily I will be back”, and walk away and go about your business. He can’t argue by himself and if he does he might start to feel pretty silly doing so. Maybe if he knows the moment he starts yelling you are gone he will stop yelling if he really wants to have a chat.

BarnacleBill's avatar

There are basically two three types of parenting: nonexistent, authoritative (do as I say, regardless of what I do) and coached parenting. Many people are the product of authoritative parenting. In my 50’s, I know more people than I should with dead children because of authoritative parenting, from car accidents trying to get home in time to make curfew (in retrospect, it really wouldn’t have been necessary to ground the kid because he walked in the door at 12:10 instead of 12:00), and suicide.

Some of what your father is saying could be the result of how your grandparents raised him, and he is not realizing how harmful it is to you to say it. Other parts of it comes from home being a safe place to blow off steam from work, and his acting out is because home is a safe place to let out frustrations that he can’t during at work.

@Hypocrisy_Central brings up an excellent point. It takes two people to have an argument. Recognize that some of the yelling is letting off steam about something else. Also, recognize that comments like “you need to change yourself so others will think differently of me” is not an effective comment. Rather than react, ask reflective questions, starting with, who specifically are the “others” who need to think differently of me? How do you know what they think? Why is what they think important? How should I change? How specifically do you suggest that I go about making that change? Once you play 20 questions on the topic, say “Thanks for the advice, I will think about it.” And walk away.

Austinlad's avatar

I once watched my ex and her mother fight about whether FedEx and Federal Express were two different companies or one. The Mother had seen the different names on various trucks, and of course her daughter insisted it was only one company with a nickname. They argued for 30 minutes with no resolution other than hurt feelings on both sides.

If only the daughter had realized she couldn’t win the stupid argument and had walked away. But then I wouldn’t have had that great story to tell all these years.

My point: what’s the point of arguing with someone with a closed mind?

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@Austinlad What is the point of arguing at all? People actually interested in the other’s point of view debate or discuss rather than arguing.

BoBo1946's avatar

How long has this being going on? What started it? There is a deeper issue here. That issue must be brought out in the open and resolved in a mature and civil manner. Two adults talking about their problem. It this cannot be done, professional help maybe necessary.

Austinlad's avatar

@FireMadeFlesh, I think there’s great value in civil argument—that is, DEBATE, the sharing of ideas and views. If only there could be more debate and less screaming.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

You said he only fights with you and your middle brother a little. What sets him off with the middle brother? How old are they?

CaptainHarley's avatar

Sometimes an individual will be constantly aggravated by another person simply because they remind them of someone else. Alternatively, they may simply be taking out their frustrations at life on the other person. I suspect this is what is happening with your father. He accuses you of “not doing enough” even though you say you do more than he does. It sounds as if he’s using you as a verbal punching bag.

You seem to stand in danger of becoming like him, since it takes two to argue. My recommendation is that you simply refuse to argue. If he asks you a direct question, simply answer to the best of your ability, but without raising your voice or otherwise indicating your displeasure. He may get angry at this response from you at first, but he gets angry at you anyway, so where’s the harm?

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I was wondering if Dad is being overprotective of his little girl. My mother and sister fought a lot as we were growing up. It wasn’t out of any mean streak, but rather she was worried my sister was making some of the same mistakes my mother made growing up.

Brenna_o's avatar

@BoBo1946 It has been going on for as long as I can remember. I couldnt tell you what started it because it has been that long. I hate fighting, last night I was even told to shut up by him.

Brenna_o's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe My middle brother is 19. 20 in november. What usually sets them off is him coming home from his girlfriends house and him not doing the dishes before he left or him leaving my youngest brother with me all day

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Brenna_o That doesn’t sound like he’s overprotective. Someone else suggested writing a letter to their parent that they had the same problem with fighting. Spell out how he’s making you feel so he can read it without the risk of a fight. Any changes in his job or your mother’s?

BoBo1946's avatar

@Brenna_o ummmm…does your mom and dad get along? Does she ever intervene?

Brenna_o's avatar

There is a change in their jobs and out money situation.. Its getting better, not worse so that makes no sense.. (from being in the pits of debt till now we are pretty good off now then what we were)

My parents get along most of the time except when we fight. She tries to make his stop yelling and screaming at me, but he doesnt listen.

BarnacleBill's avatar

If your example of your brother is typical of the type of thing that sets him off then it would appear that being self-absorbed or flagrantly ignoring responsibilities bugs him. (As it did me when mine were your age). Here’s what family counseling taught me:

When you are the parent of a teen, you have to be clear about responsibilities and consequences, and be consistent in delivering consequences. In the example above, brother goes to the girlfriend, leaving dirty dishes, leaves you with younger brother all day, the role of the parent is to say, I expect you to wash the dishes and tidy up the kitchen before you go to Meghan’s house, or you will [lose the use of your car, insert consequence of parent’s choice]. If you do not do what you are asked to do by the time requested, it is reasonable to negotiate a new time before the time approaches, and then deliver on what you agree to.

Kids should not have to guess what is expected, parents should not have to yell. When you are responsible for something as an adult, and you don’t deliver, there are consequences. If you’re supposed to do something by a certain time, and you choose to watch television, go to the girlfriend’s, whatever, instead of doing what is expected of you, then you are choosing to lose car priviledges, or whatever the consequence is. Your parent is not being mean, but rather being consistent. If he says do x by y time or Q will happen, and you choose to watch television instead, then you are in essence choosing Q.

As teens become older, their extraneous time commitments need to be factored in. Saying what you need done, and asking when it can be completed by is a courtesy that should be extended to your children after a certain age, especially if they’ve demonstrated that they don’t need to be told. If you agree to clean the basement on Saturday, that comes before going to the movies with friends. In order to go to the movies with friends, you get up earlier on Saturday and take care of what you committed to do.

actuallery's avatar

You seem quite the argumentative type that won’t let others have their say and, when you do let them, you’ve always got something to say back. Your avatar shows you with a little girl so I assume that you have a daughter, perhaps a chance daughter and not totally planned, and living with you and the family. Perhaps this is the reason for all those arguments and you had wandered from the homestead for a little while and now expect your parents to take care of you and your child?

I’d suggest you go out of your way to keep the peace, even if it means having to do laundry duties, washing dishes, cleaning house, and shopping, and meal preparation. Whenever a situation occurs, just be agreeable and let your father be right all of the time. You should also consider trying for some part-time work, perhaps babysitting for neighbours, to help with income to pay for bills and expenses.

Considering that

BoBo1946's avatar

@Brenna_o Money and job changes are very stressful. My best advise, looks for ways to help without being told. When your Dad is upset, answer with a soft tone, be respectful, and give him the last word. This will be totally to your benefit. He is not winning, but you. Be the adult in the family. You will be amazed how things will change for you.

Brenna_o's avatar

@actuallery That is not my daughter I babysit her 2–3days a week. I have not had a kid nor am I pregnant. I have a babysitting job, and a part time job thru a school down here. On a good month Ill make 600$.
I also am the one one making dinner 85% of the time, so that stress isnt even on them. Its on me, and I am constantly doing laundry and dishes. But nothing is ever good enough for my dad to be happy with me.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@Brenna_o How has your relationship with your dad been since posting this question?

actuallery's avatar

Stop trying to impress him and start trying to impress yourself. If things are so awkward, why are you still living at home, anyway? Surely you could go share a flat or house with someone?

Maybe, on the other hand, you are doing too much around the house and he is taking advantage of your good will? Maybe you are more like a housemaid than a daughter? Maybe you should think about moving out?

When was the last time you went out? On a date? Or anywhere sociable?

Brenna_o's avatar

@FireMadeFlesh My dad is acting weird since i posted. He keeps trying to act like nothing happened, and he keeps asking me wats up.. He NEVER does this.. It kinda makes me wonder if he searched my laptop…?

@actuallery How would I survive with a house and only 500–600 $ a month??
Hmm last time I went out on a date or something social…? over a month. Last month I went to a party my youth leaders were having.

BoBo1946's avatar

@Brenna_o when you decide, let us know your new strategy and keep us posted on the outcome!

actuallery's avatar

Maybe he has his own account, here, and is reading your Question and the replies? Does he have a separate computer )no need to answer that)? Maybe the time you are not spending looking after the house is affecting his senses and he is starting to realise that you do have your own life, even if you still live at home.

Maybe you are a good person, after all, and your time, here has mellowed you a bit and you are starting to realise that all the kerfuffle between you and your dad is just total nonsense, more like idle banter than real arguments. Some parents like to challenge their children even if it means being argumentative!!

Siren's avatar

@Brenna_o: You’re doing the best you can with the stressful situation you’re in. Seems like your father may have just targeted you unfairly when he feels stressed out, or feels threatened somehow that you are growing up and (hopefully) be on your own soon. As others have posted, I would bide my time, keep quiet and under the radar, then move out when you can. Maybe share an apartment with a responsible friend? Or move in with friends who have a spare bedroom and you can pay some rent?

You can do all this without ruffling anyone’s feathers in the guise of wanting to be on your own and “experience the world”. That way, if you are forced to move back home due to financial issues, there won’t be any hard feelings. But, who’s to know with your dad’s behavior right?

I don’t think it really matters what you have not said in your dialogue about the dynamics of why you and your father are not getting along. The bottom line is that it is toxic for you to be there and he seems stressed out by you as well, fairly or unfairly. Also, the fact that you are revealing quite a bit about your situation shows to me that you don’t really want to have this negative situation with your father, which gives me the benefit of the doubt that you are not causing the problems yourself.

I recommend creating an “exit strategy” goal and start saving as much money as you can, working as much as you can, and start looking for other potential living arrangements. Focus, focus, focus and ignore all the banter around you. Keep the faith, friend.

15acrabm's avatar

I’ve got the same problem with my mom. I know how you feel. It sucks. Big time. What sometimes works for me is the good old deap breath drill. Cheezy, yes, but useful. just remeber it takes two to fight. Even if he is yelling, try to talk normally. He might get the idea. Or, he just might get irritated and stomp off. Either way you win.

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