Social Question

SQUEEKY2's avatar

When parents complain about their children what do they really want?

Asked by SQUEEKY2 (19406points) April 30th, 2015

I mean what are they after a sympathetic ear?
Someone to take over?
To return the child for a better model?
having children is a choice for most, did they think it would be all orange juice and picnics?
To me having kids is a full time job 24/7 and a lot of hard work that for some is the best thing they ever took on, and others a complete nightmare.
So for the complainers did they not think it through?
And what are they after with their complaining?

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22 Answers

hominid's avatar

Parenting is hard. People complain about things.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

But why complain about something you really,really wanted?

hominid's avatar

@hominid: “But why complain about something you really,really wanted?”

Nearly everything that anyone has done that they have wanted has been accompanied by complaining. Everything. This is what we (humans) do.

hominid's avatar

@SQUEEKY2 – Let’s try this: Have you ever complained about a friend, your wife, your job, or your vacation? Does this mean that didn’t want your friends, to be married, to have your job, or to have gone on vacation?

jca's avatar

Do people complain about their spouses? Yes. I assume that when they got married, they very likely really really wanted to be married to the spouse.

Do people complain about their significant others? Yes.

Do people complain about their homes/apartments/houses/neighborhoods/communities? Yes.

I will discuss my child with my friends who are parents and who might understand my issues or have some advice for me. I don’t consider it complaining. Someone who does not know what I’m talking about or who may look to label my discussion to be “complaining” might consider it such, but to me, it’s just a chat with a friend, like we discuss personal relationships or anything else. I wouldn’t exchange my child for the world but that doesn’t mean that everything she does is wonderful or perfect, that doesn’t mean I’m the best, smartest and most wonderful parent that can’t use a bit of advice or help, and that doesn’t mean that my discussion is a complaint.

Tropical_Willie's avatar


Just a complainer.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

This is what I have learned: People like to vent, and often verbally.

I reached a point where people would approach me and ask if they could talk. The answer was most always, “Yes.” The caveat came from the time at the time of the meeting: My initial question is, “Do you want to vent or do you want to hear about potential solutions?” Their answer is the basis of my response and even ability to maintain focus.

The people that concern me the most are the ones who avoid talking to anyone else, especially when it comes to being a parent.

Apparently_Im_The_Grumpy_One's avatar

Maybe they just want a break. Maybe they trust you to be a sounding board. Maybe they did make a mistake having kids but that doesn’t mean they can just walk away. Maybe they need a good friend, not a judge.

Maybe they’re human

ucme's avatar

That clearly comes from a non parent, the ignorance shines right through.
You buy a house, a car or some other lavish expense that you always dreamed of, does that thing, however glorious, give you reason to complain from time to time?
Of course it does, that is just the way of things…here endeth the lesson.

ibstubro's avatar

A lot of people have a lot of kids for reasons other than “really really” wanting them. Even then, really wanting something doesn’t automatically give you expertise.

Kids have their own individual personalities and quirks. If you’re unable to stop your kid from doing something that you would complain about someone else’s kid doing, it would be hypocritical to pretend it doesn’t bother you. Some people love their kids without much liking them, and, as @Apparently_Im_The_Grumpy_One points out, it’s not like they can just walk away.

As others have said, complaining is a vent.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Can you give me an example of something people might complain about their kids?

Inspired_2write's avatar

Understnading is what they are after.
I bet that after the Hippy movement in the 60’s that there were many parents upset that their offspring turned there backs on conventialism?( or the wy things were then for the Conventional lifetsyle)?

Dutchess_III's avatar

Not always. Sometimes they are asking for advice.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

@Dutchess_III examples, they never clean up after themselves.
They are failing at school.
They never do anything that they are told to.
They won’t get a job.
Those are the ones I hear the most.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Ah. Yeah, they’re just looking for sympathy. Problem is, all of those are most likely a parenting fail.

Dutchess_III's avatar

It’s a combination of nurture and nature, I agree.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

People are going to gripe about kids because they have unmet expectations of how it was going to go, or they are frustrated they got trapped by the pleasure of their loins. Those who really wanted kids and planned for them IMO is like 40% for with 60% just deciding to keep the byproduct of their boinking like bunnies. In part, they are making a plea for help, something that will make parenting work easier or the way they envisioned it.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I cried to my girlfriend because when my daughter was born she’d only sleep for 15 minutes at a time. An hour at the most at night. It was a nightmare for the first year.

jca's avatar

Here’s another suggestion for you, @SQUEEKY2. Next time you hear a parent discussing things about their children that they don’t like (complaining by your description), ask them “what are you after, a sympathetic ear? Someone to take over? To return the child for a better model? Did you not think it through? What are you after with your complaining?” That might start a discussion where you can find out first hand from one of these people what their issues are. It might open an intelligent dialogue about parenting and children.

Blondesjon's avatar

It’s not a matter of want it’s a matter of relief, like farting. Better out than in I always say.

rojo's avatar

A sympathetic ear….. and some prozac.

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