Does anyone have any tips on how as an adult child, living at home, I can get my father to: 1- Communicate more effectively. 2- Take constructive criticism about the way he does communicate.?

For the past two months I have calmly asked many times for my father to acknowledge me when I speak. Let me know he heard me. Also, to give me the attention I deserve when I'm speaking to him. I'm not getting anywhere. Today, I got mildly upset at him about it. He asked to speak with me about something. So, I went to him to talk. He said his part then turned to the computer and ignored me. Three seperate times as I was talking he asked me what I had said. When I pointed out he wasn't paying attention to what I was saying, he said he was reading something online. Uh, yea- He asked to speak with me then when he is done talking assumes the conversation is over. Don't I have a right to put in my input and ask questions? I know I do. Other times he simply doesn't respond at all. He is almost 66. I wonder sometimes if he beginning to become hard of hearing. This is part of the reason I ask him to acknowledge me since I am not sure.

I don't know how to handle this. I even talked with my psychologist about it. He wants me to bring him in for a family therapy session. However, the last time I did that, my father monopolized my session complaining about me. We never even got around to discussing fully why I had brought him there. So, I don't think therapy would do much good.

I want to be acknowledged. I hate being ignored. It makes me feel unworthy. Like I don't matter enough. Like what I have to say is not important.

My father is always quick to criticize me and my mistakes. I feel like I try to improve on these things. I take medicine, I discuss it in therapy, I reflect. I am the only one trying to change.

It doesn't seem fair to have to do all the work to make this living arrangement work. He needs to change his ways too. But, what I hear from people is he is set in his ways and I can't expect him to change.

I can change all I want but, if he doesn't give a little this is not going to get any better as far as communication goes.

So, please any advice would be helpful. I don't know how to handle his stubborness and lack of respect for me as an adult and as a person.

  1. fosterthesoul 10 years ago

    Hi, not sure if this is going to help but here’s a question I want you to ask yourself.

    Do you love your father?

    If you love your father, than you should show it to him.  Next time walk up and hug your father like you mean it and tell how much you love him.  He may be stunned at the change in attitude and at that moment you may have a chance to have a good conversation with him.  I know that when I hug my parents, I always do it as if it were going to be my last.  Don’t try to push too hard and remember, If you love someone, try to accept them for who they are.

    Hopefully this perspective can also help you.

    If you grew up with parents who provided a decent lifestyle, it means they worked their butt off because they love you.  But somewhere along the way, they forgot how to communicate with the people they love because they were too busy working for other people achieve their dreams instead of doing what they love most, to spend time with their family.  So if asking him for attention isn’t working, try earning his attention by showing you love him.

    You reap what you sow


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  2. Andie372 10 years ago

     Maybe since he doesn't do well in face to face conversations, you could try writing him a  letter explaining how you feel?  Even if he doesn't respond I think you will feel better for having gotten your part in.  


    I took my husband to therapy with me and all he did was complain about me.  So I know how you feel and how frustrated you are.


    Old people are pretty set in their ways and hard to change.  I wish you luck.  

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  3. sadviolinist 10 years ago

    Classy, I'm sorry you're experiencing this. I've been down this road too, but with my husband. I still ocassionally have problems with it with him, but it's gotten much better. The difference though is that in order not to lose me he had to change ~ and the dynamics between a father and daughter are much different. I wish I could offer some magical advice for this, but I don't know any. As far as I would be concerned though, I would refuse to make any more "changes" to suit him when he's not willing to make it a 2 way street. When he points out or complains at you about your behaviors or whatever he's criticizing, point out that if he wants to lay his issues on the table, you want to be able to lay your's down first. That will force him to at least pay attention long enough to get him to be present during what you have to say hopefully. I wish you the best with this ~ we live with my Mom so I understand too. It can be VERY difficult to live with a parent as an adult child because the relationship often reverts back to similar patterns as when you lived with them as a child. That's what I'm dealing with here.  (((HUGS))) and best wishes in sorting this out. And I'd give it another try with the therapy, just make it clear to your therapist that you want equal time talking with them as your Dad has.  <3 to you.  ~ Key

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