Skip to main content Skip to bottom nav

My parents complain about each other to me, and I don't know what to do.

39 Answers
Last Updated: 01/04/2022 at 4:13pm
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
Moderated by

Polly Letsch, LCSW

Clinical Social Work/Therapist

I provide non-judgmental, person-centered, objective therapeutic treatment for individuals of all ages to improve social, emotional, mental and other areas of functioning.

Top Rated Answers
October 27th, 2014 11:13pm
I think the hardest thing in this is that you love both of your parents, and coulnd't and wouldn't really choose a side. But there's an expectation towards you, to agree what one is saying, even when you don't even want to hear your parents complaning about each other. What makes this situation harder is the bitter identification of the fact: your parents are just like you - they fight and shout and think that they're right. But the hardest thing for you is to realise: They're no longer on each others' side, where they used to be.
September 29th, 2014 8:04pm
Tell your parents that you don't want to be in the middle. Its not your responsibility to be the messenger.
September 29th, 2014 9:03pm
Respectfully let them know how you feel and how it's affecting you. Use "I" statements instead of "you" statements to avoid sounding offensive or finger-pointing. You have every right to love both parents; emphasize how you love both of them and think highly of them.
October 30th, 2014 8:56pm
In my experience, parents usually say to you what they're really trying to communicate to the other parent, or even just sounding it out for the first time with someone they trust and that knows the parent as much as they do. If it bothers you, why not ask them whether they think the other parent should hear this over you? Or explain to them that it doesn't make you feel comfortable to be put in the middle in such a way. It's better to be forthright with this kind of thing than be forced to carry too much in silence.
September 12th, 2014 4:10am
Have the parents sit down and talk to each other about their emotional or ideas they may have. Having them speak to one another may solve some conflicts or predicaments
October 20th, 2014 8:52pm
If there's no way you can help solve their problems, just listen. I guess they both could use a hearing ear.
November 12th, 2014 2:36am
Be understanding but don't take sides. If they attempt to press you into taking a side, recommend that they speak with each other instead. If you find that they keep using you as an outlet and you're uncomfortable with this, tell them that you appreciate that they feel comfortable talking to you about these issues but that you aren't really in a position to help resolve the problems--they can only resolve it between themselves. There is no guarantee this will work but anything that can encourage them to share their complaints with each other instead of foisting them upon you is a positive step.
November 9th, 2014 1:08pm
I've had this same thing and what I did was tell them that they should tell eachother and not me. It helped me, they don't do it anymore. It will take a little time though.
November 11th, 2014 10:22pm
I've totally been in that situation before. My parents do have a pretty good marriage, but sometimes they'll start complaining about each other to me without really realizing what they're doing. I usually just try to change the subject when I can.
November 18th, 2014 10:42pm
Tell them it's non of your business. Because it really isn't. Their relationship is something they need to sort out on their own and they should never put their children in the middle of all that.
September 17th, 2014 1:40pm
I had to have a chat to my Mum about it, and explain that it hurt me. This was several years later and after I finally spoke to a councilor about my problems. If you can, talk to your parents. If you can't, talk to someone who can support you.
October 28th, 2014 2:56am
Ask them nicely not to speak badly about the other in front you, remind them that he/she is still your parent.
November 17th, 2014 8:27am
This can definitely be a tough situation, especially because you don't want to upset either one of them. What do you think would be best? Have you tried telling your parents how you feel about the entire situation? Maybe sitting down and having a discussion could be beneficial.
December 22nd, 2015 10:03pm
I am so sorry that they are placing you in such an uncomfortable position. No child should have to hear the other parent being put down Please say to your mother and your father when they start to complain that you know that they are in pain but that it is inappropriate for them to burden you. Try to help them look beyond their own pain and understand how destructive their behavior is. A child needs to be able to see his parents as role models and not be denigrated and shot full of holes
January 23rd, 2018 7:12pm
If they both tell you that means they both trust you. Sit with both of them at the same time, solve the problems between them, tell them to remove the communication gap between both of them otherwise it might lead to separation of your family
October 20th, 2014 9:21pm
The main thing you do in that situation is to listen to both sides but do not take a side. That way you can be supportive of your parents but it doesn't put you more in the middle. Also, try to offer helpful advise about getting them to talk to each other. Ultimately they need to work things about them self and sometimes them complaining could be their tool to get their stress out in the open instead of stuck in their head.
October 30th, 2014 5:08pm
I would tell them that it makes you uncomfortable and ask them if they could stop or work out their problems with eachother
October 31st, 2014 8:40am
if i were you then i would sit them both down and make them work things out
November 12th, 2014 5:42am
My parents are divorced, and they complain to me about how the other is devious, disgusting, and a cheat all the time. As a kid, I think the most important thing is to show parents that you support them; but not their behavior. Sit down and have a talk with them.
November 12th, 2014 7:43pm
Have a sit down talk with them to express your concerns and look for a solution together as a family
November 13th, 2014 11:39pm
Let them know your aware of the situation and how it makes you feel and maybe you guys can have a talk together and get everything out in the open
November 14th, 2014 3:25pm
Kindly and respectfully tell them both that it makes you uncomfortable and you would prefer it if they would stop doing it. They may not realize that they are doing it.
November 19th, 2014 4:04am
When your parent begins to complain, let them know kindly but firmly that you don't want to be put in the middle and you would appreciate it if they would choose to talk about that issue with someone other than you. It may take a few reminders, but most parents will learn to not put you in the middle like that fairly quickly. If things don't improve or your parent becomes angry, it may help to bring in another trusted individual to help mediate the situation so that both you and your parent feel heard.
March 12th, 2015 9:06pm
Well, parents sometimes use each other as tools to hurt each other so sometimes just speaking up in a calm, respectful manner still remaining firm you can tell them that you don't want to listen about bad things about your mom or dad.
July 6th, 2015 6:16pm
I have experienced this, and I always find that the best thing to do is to be indifferent and not take sides, as that only includes you further.
February 15th, 2016 7:12pm
Mature parents should not do this. However, if this is the case -try not to be judgemental towards them, and just let the complaints pass through your other ear. Don't let those critical words about each other influence on how you feel about them. Try to focus on how good they are as your mom and dad - although they complain about each other, they still are fulfilling their role in raising you as your parents-
July 7th, 2015 11:14am
I heard mine do that once in a while as well. I never told them, but I wish I told them that it really bothered me because I really didn't want to be annoying..
August 4th, 2015 5:21pm
I would tell them that whatever issues they have are between them and you don't wish to be included. I would also reassure them that I love them both and for them to complain to me is very hurtful.
August 24th, 2015 12:54am
Sit down and have a family discussion on how they can deal with their emotions instead of putting stress on you
September 7th, 2015 3:03am
Try talking to them individually and telling the how you feel. Also it might be even better to talk to them together once that is done. So they both know how you feel and where you are coming from.