Author Topic: I don't like the way you give me "suggestions"  (Read 5557 times)

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shygirl

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I don't like the way you give me "suggestions"
« on: September 17, 2012, 04:57:57 PM »
My dad has always been quite liberal with handing out "suggestions" to people.  I wrote "suggestions" because they are more like commands, especially when given to me or my sister.  If we don't take his suggestion, he gets mad and complains that we never want to do anything the "smart" way.  I'm 33 now, and I deal with this by not talking to him that much. 

Well, that was how I dealt with it before I had a kid.  I have a 2yo son, and since I live quite far away from my parents, we skype a lot so the kid can get to know his grandparents.  So, the "suggestions" have started up again.  I usually ignore them, which is fairly easy to do over skype.  But lately, he's really been getting under my skin.  The way my dad suggests things, it seems like he thinks I haven't already tried it, or that I'm a complete dunce. 

For example, I stupidly mentioned once during a skype call that my son refused to drink milk for the past few weeks.  My dad got this expression on his face, one that I am very familiar with.  It says "why is my daughter so dumb".  He said "Shygirl, you HAVE to make him drink milk."  I got angry right away.  I asked him if he had any "suggestions" on how to MAKE a toddler drink something he didn't want to.  He said "just mix some malt into it so he will drink it".  I said "well I ALREADY tried giving him chocolate milk and strawberry milk, and he refused those, so malt is not going to work".  He started to say something else, but my mom cut him off saying you can't force toddlers to eat or drink anything they don't want to.

Now, I wouldn't have had an issue if he asked like "well, did you try mixing anything into the milk, like malt?"  But, instead, he just assumes that I haven't tried other alternatives.  He does with every single suggestion.  Just assumes I haven't already tried his suggestion.  It is driving me crazy.

My question is, is this my issue to deal with?  My dad is not going to change.  So, is it worth telling him I'm offended?  Lately, whenever he suggests something I've already tried, I say "Why do you think I haven't already tried that?"  My dad never has an answer for that, and instead gets "distracted" by something cute the kid does.

PS.  I know we could skype less, but I would like my son to get to know and be comfortable with his grandparents.  They aren't bad or toxic, just...seem to think that I am not able to take care of myself, much less another human being.  And actually, we have been skyping less than usual because my son doesn't seem to enjoy it for that long.

CakeBeret

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Re: I don't like the way you give me "suggestions"
« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2012, 05:20:52 PM »
I got this on occasion when my 2-year-old went through a refusal-to-nap phase. I finally began responding, "Short of duct-taping him to the bed and putting a blindfold on him, it is literally and fully impossible to "make" him."

For you dad, do you think it would be effective to say "We might try that," and then beandip? Or you could go the humor route. "Believe me, we've tried all the normal avenues. But if you have any suggestions for witchcraft or hypnosis that may help, let me know."
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WillyNilly

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Re: I don't like the way you give me "suggestions"
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2012, 05:40:38 PM »
YMMV with what I'm about to suggest.  But I've turned to my parents on occasion and put it back on them.  Essentially blame your dad - after all if he'd raised you better you'd know these things and he wouldn't have to keep telling you (now obviously you do know these things so your parents aren't to blame as bad parents, so you know its just an illustration not an actual accusation). 

Something like "gee dad, I wished you'd instilled knowledge like that in me my whole life so now as a grown up I'd know it.  Why are you only trying to teach me common sense now?" 

He will probably say he has been telling you stuff like this all your life at which point you can shoot back with a snarky smile "yeah dad, I know, which is why I already tried that."

sweetonsno

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Re: I don't like the way you give me "suggestions"
« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2012, 05:42:20 PM »
I think your best bet is to not give him an opening. If it's too late, then I like CakeBeret's suggestions. Ask him to drink a "make a toddler drink milk" charm for you or something. (Or just agree to try it and then forget about it.)

I also think you could come right back with a "Dad, this really isn't a big deal" response.

Dad: "But you HAVE to get him to drink milk."
You: "Why? More than half of the world's population is lactose intolerant. They never drink milk after they're weaned. If they can go most of their lives without drinking milk, Junior can certainly survive for a few weeks."


Judah

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Re: I don't like the way you give me "suggestions"
« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2012, 05:47:37 PM »
Your current method,  "Why do you think I haven't already tried that?", seems to be working. Keep doing that and give him fewer opening to give you suggestions.
Ask for what you want. Let's be clear on this one:
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Strong hints don't work.
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bah12

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Re: I don't like the way you give me "suggestions"
« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2012, 06:12:34 PM »
Your current method,  "Why do you think I haven't already tried that?", seems to be working. Keep doing that and give him fewer opening to give you suggestions.

I agree with this.  You already know your dad is not going to change.  You can tell him how offended you are until you are blue in the face and he's not going to change.

So, what you do with it is your decision.  You already know that talking to him about it won't help.  So, you either have to decide that it's something you'll deal with or something you won't.  And only you can figure that out. 

But, the above does seem to be working at least a little bit, so in the meantime, just keep doing that!

dawbs

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Re: I don't like the way you give me "suggestions"
« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2012, 06:21:31 PM »
I'm in the 'giving information makes it seem like you may want his feedback' camp.

So when he says "you NEED to do X", you say (IMO, with a verbal 'eyeroll' that says 'father knows best') "dully noted." followed by beandip of your choice.

"you NEED to get him to drink milk"  "Dully noted"
"you need to get him to sit still while you put on his seat belt"  "dully noted"

For things that are particularly egregious, there's always "Dad, had your turn to screw up kids with your parenting, now it's MY turn to screw up kids"  ;)

Ms_Cellany

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Re: I don't like the way you give me "suggestions"
« Reply #7 on: September 17, 2012, 06:22:02 PM »
"I'll keep that in mind."
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PastryGoddess

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Re: I don't like the way you give me "suggestions"
« Reply #8 on: September 17, 2012, 07:06:12 PM »
"Thanks for the suggestion, I'll think about it"

You and your dad have been communicating this way for most of your life.  If you change the way you communicate, you may find that you'll be able to tolerate him a bit better.

He won't change, but maybe you will

kherbert05

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Re: I don't like the way you give me "suggestions"
« Reply #9 on: September 17, 2012, 08:27:36 PM »
I think your best bet is to not give him an opening. If it's too late, then I like CakeBeret's suggestions. Ask him to drink a "make a toddler drink milk" charm for you or something. (Or just agree to try it and then forget about it.)

I also think you could come right back with a "Dad, this really isn't a big deal" response.

Dad: "But you HAVE to get him to drink milk."
You: "Why? More than half of the world's population is lactose intolerant. They never drink milk after they're weaned. If they can go most of their lives without drinking milk, Junior can certainly survive for a few weeks."
POD - Or defer to your doctor. Brett is Lactose intolerant and loves milk. Loren isn't and hates it (Milk tastes sour to her - I can't drink it for the same reason both of us gag if we try). BIL was very concerned - especially since our side of the family has a history of  osteoporosis and Sis* has broken both wrists (seperately), her foot, her collar bone, her leg, and both knees (same time). Sis had him talk to the doc about it. Since Loren eats other milk products and dark green vegetables happily, there isn't a problem.


*Edited to add Sis's broken bones span from 5 yo to mid 30's. There are multiple witnesses to everything but her leg (She was alone and tripped over the dog - BIL was in another state.) IRL people hear this and jump to the conclusion that she is/was abused. The only one physical involvement of another person was when her best friend accidently pushed her out of a tree at 5 yo. BF was 4 and rushing down the tree to get to the bathroom.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2012, 08:36:16 PM by kherbert05 »
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Venus193

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Re: I don't like the way you give me "suggestions"
« Reply #10 on: September 17, 2012, 09:43:13 PM »
Quote
PS.  I know we could skype less, but I would like my son to get to know and be comfortable with his grandparents.  They aren't bad or toxic, just...seem to think that I am not able to take care of myself, much less another human being.  And actually, we have been skyping less than usual because my son doesn't seem to enjoy it for that long.

My response would be a variation on WillyNilly's.  Something like:  "If I don't know how to take care of myself you have failed in your responsibility as a parent."

If that doesn't work I'd just change the subject or end the call.

PeterM

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Re: I don't like the way you give me "suggestions"
« Reply #11 on: September 17, 2012, 10:23:37 PM »
Your current method,  "Why do you think I haven't already tried that?", seems to be working. Keep doing that and give him fewer opening to give you suggestions.

I agree with this. And if he asks you why you never tell/ask him about certain things, tell him.

TootsNYC

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Re: I don't like the way you give me "suggestions"
« Reply #12 on: September 17, 2012, 10:28:36 PM »
Quote
I got angry right away.

You really are stuck in a dance with him! My sympathies!

 If you can tap into this reaction, and make it work FOR you, it might help.

Just be honest, and say, "You know what? I'm suddenly really angry. I feel really attacked and criticized. I'm getting off the phone now. Bye, everyone!" and hang up. Don't wait for "permission" from them.

I don't think you should prolong the topic with talking about your doctor, etc. Because Dad is stuck on the "my kid needs to be scolded" groove. Just end it.

When you feel that surge of anger, say, "Oh, this is the signal to get away, get away, get away." That's adrenalin, and that *IS* what you are supposed to do.

And if it ever gets brought up again, say, "Dad, I felt really criticized. The conversation wasn't fun for me anymore. And its damaging to our relationship and to my mood. In fact, right now I'm feeling criticized and attacked, so I'm going to go. Bye!" <click>

Rohanna

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Re: I don't like the way you give me "suggestions"
« Reply #13 on: September 17, 2012, 11:58:29 PM »
Slightly off topic, and not nagging like your Dad- but hating the taste of milk to the point of gagging could indicate a mild, latent lactose intolerance....basically it tastes "sour" because your body has associated it with feeling unwell. I'm lactose intolerant, and only had the "milk tastes sour" thing until a dose of antibiotics triggered it into full-blown lactose intolerance. I drink lactaid or calcium fortified OJ now, and it doesn't bother me anymore :)
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Minmom3

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Re: I don't like the way you give me "suggestions"
« Reply #14 on: September 18, 2012, 12:20:41 AM »
I had to learn, very early in my marriage, that I pretty much couldn't tell my mother anything.  Not because she held it against DH but because her marriage only lasted 3 years start to finish, and she never learned a single coping mechanism for dealing with spousal carp.  When I complained about something (probably how messy he was/is), she said she wouldn't tolerate it.  When I tried to pin her on HOW she wouldn't tolerate it, and just what she would DO to get across how 'intolerable' said behavior was, she had no answer.  All she could do was repeat "I wouldn't tolerate it" over and over. I think I said something along the lines of "that's not helping me.  Telling me what you did that was effective would be helping me.  This isn't."  And then I probably hung up, and really internalized that I couldn't tell her much of anything anymore, at least in the marriage department. 

That was the start of serious separation from my mother.  She had one marriage that was over by the time I turned 2, and I was a honeymoon baby.  She had a few boyfriends over the years since, but few of them, and all were short term.  She's very much (or was, prior to dementia) a "my way or the highway" kind of person.  She gets her feelings all butthurt very quickly when you do something she doesn't like, but she will steamroller the daylights out of you without a qualm.  Where I can sit down and discuss things with other people in my life, and come to some sort of compromise, I never could do that with Mom.

I hope the OP can figure out some sort of way of handling the disapproving suggestions from Dad.
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