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I Live with my father during the summer, and I do my best to make sure that I leave the smallest footprint possible. Doing my own laundry, dishes, food, etc. I think I do a good job.

My father and I will argue about things, and when I try and end the argument, he just keeps egging it on, and then later he complains that it's a shame that we have to argue "like this". To me, he's being a drama queen.

Here is an example:

Father: [tuskiomi], Do the dishes.
Me: Aww, I didn't make dirty any of them, though.
Father (very simplified and shortened): Everyone has to help out and do chores.
Me (realising that I've dug myself a hole) : Okay, fine I'll do them.
Father: [tuskiomi], why do you always complain about things?
Me: I'm not complaining; I'm doing the dishes.
Father: I don't hear anyone else giving me any lip. It's just a part of living here..
Me: I'm doing the dishes. you can stop lecturing me.
Father: (more lecturing about how it's simply expected of me to do chores)
[some hour or two later]
Father: You know, I don't like arguing with you..

I don't have anything against chores, and I do every one that my father asks me to. I don't egg the conversation on, and I admit, I do complain, but I'm not the only one, and It's more of a vent than objection. I've told him that I'm going to do what I ask him, and that he shouldn't take the complaining personally. He took that personally as well.

Now, I'm willing to change, and I'm willing to lay terms with my father. Open to the both.

How should I deal with my father egging on a conversation that isn't worth having anymore?

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    This might be better placed at interpersonal.se since you seem to be more or less trying to avoid parenting. – user26011 Jul 21 '17 at 20:11
  • @notstoreboughtdirt Perhaps. We'll see – tuskiomi Jul 21 '17 at 20:13
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    There's a different dynamic than typical interpersonal communication in a parent-child relationship. While it could quite easily be on topic there, it is not off-topic here, and figuring out how to do chores and discuss/negotiate with parents/children is a quite common Parenting dilemma. – Acire Jul 22 '17 at 14:50
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    I consider a response like "can I do it ten minutes when I finish this book chapter" to be a reasonable "negotiation" response; larger conversations to establish reasonable requests are also negotiations. How much of this is reasonable depends on age, but I do not consider parental authority to be unquestionable and absolute. (We're talking about dishes, after all, not life or death.) – Acire Jul 25 '17 at 0:15
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    @Erica Nor do I. and while I don't have a problem helping out, I do with people on a power trip. – tuskiomi Jul 25 '17 at 0:35
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My parents were like your dad. I would say the best way to avoid srguing in such a case is to say as little as possible in return to any request & as best you can, just do what is asked without commentary. I know that is not something I find to be fair either, hence I operate differently with my own kids, but my parents felt that any talk other than "thank you for these chores & allowing me the privilege to be of service to the family" was pretty much backtalk & that too would have gotten me in trouble for saying it, since they would think I was being sassy in reverse psychology.

So instead just try saying "Okay" & just do it. Really. It often will help way more than you would think in getting along overall when a parent is wired to find any mention of not liking the chore as being somehow disrespectful. I love to say things like "UGGGHHHH I hate dishes" so I expect my kids to also sometimes say such things. Some parents interpret that as rude though & if yours does, then that is what you have to work with. It doesn't matter that I don't find it rude, if your parent does. It matters that you figure out how best to work with them to avoid the interactions you don't want, because you are the only person you can control or change.

If you find it's too late & you have already said too much, try humor. It's how I still get around things with my mom & usually gets me back on to better ground with her. So as an adult this is what would happen.

Mom: Have you called your grandmother yet? She said you haven't
called.
Me: Mom, my relationship with grandma really is my relationship so you shouldn't worry about it.
Mom: (My mother is old school & loves to lay on guilt) So after everything I have done for you, you can't just do me this one little thing & call her so she quits bothering me about it.
Me: Ummm, I think you used up that "one little thing" years ago, but yes, I can do this "one more little thing" for you, and one day I hope I can repay all you have done for me. I need you to do one little thing for me though. I need you to get in to see a doctor, since I think at this rate it looks like I need to make sure you live another 25 years, because it seems like I got a lot to make up for. (said very nicely & with a laugh)

At this point she will laugh & then I will know that I got out of her being sore with me.

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I suggest pretty much the opposite of what @threetimes said. Assuming the opportunity to leave the situation without being disrespectful never presents itself you could try changing the subject. This is tricky because you don't want to be disrespectful or rude when steering the conversation away from whatever is upsetting him. Follow these steps and you might make it out alive and not grounded.

  1. Listen to everything he has to say before you even attempt to speak. If he's confrontational for literally over an hour he will undoubtedly start to repeat himself at some point. Wait until he is repeating himself before continuing.
  2. Hear him and acknowledge him. "You're right dad, I shouldn't have commented, I should have just done the dishes." Maybe acknowledge him two or three times, but don't be overly repetitive yourself either.
  3. Don't interrupt him or speak too quickly after he has finished speaking, but as soon as you have completed step one and two, take advantage of the first few seconds of silence you get to gently steer the conversation to something more neutral. -"Dad where did we get this mug?" (holding up a mug you're washing) -"We got that at Disney World" -"Hot dang that was a sweet trip, can we go back soon?"
  • I am confused how this is opposite of what I said. I suggested doing as asked without saying anything extra if possible. You didn't suggest rejecting to not do what is asked & then make lots of commentary to dad about it, so I don't see the "opposite" you seem to see. – threetimes Jul 25 '17 at 7:37
  • I really disagree with this. Unless you are 12 you should learn to not be stepped on. ESPECIALLY by your parents. This is EXTREMELY damaging in the long term as if affects both your self esteem and trough that, your ambition(aka you will not believe your are good enough for things like college/some job/etc.) This has happened to me, my girlfriend, and a large part of our friend group since we lived in a rather traditional region. The CORRECT thing to do is "If you dont need me to do X" and WALK AWAY regardlss of yelling and punishments and threads. Ignore all that. – Rares Dima Mar 31 '18 at 9:11

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