General Question

Nuggetmunch's avatar

Should parents vent about their toxic experiences with their spouses to their kids?

Asked by Nuggetmunch (321points) 1 week ago

In other words: Should the kids grow up listening to stories if traumatic events their parent endured at the hands of their spouse, the kids’ other biological parent?

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15 Answers

LadyMarissa's avatar

I think some things are better left unsaid!!! Children should NOT be put in a position to have to take sides of the parents. The parents made poor choices…the kids DIDN’T.

zenvelo's avatar


I have never bad mouthed my ex to my kids, even though she has badmouthed me to them, My kids know where the truth is, it is plainly evident. My son now wants very little to do with his mother.

Talking trash about the other parent puts kids in a horrible position.

JLeslie's avatar

Generally no, but I do have a friend who had a big weight lifted by learning the truth about her dad.

Her mom had finally thrown her husband out of the house, and divorced him. My friend was around 12 or 13 at the time, and very unhappy about the divorce. She lived with her mom, but often spent weekends with her dad. I used to spend the night with her at her dads sometimes.

She was very close to her dad.

One day she starts telling me about a fight with her mom, and she was asking/telling her mom that she blames her for leaving her dad and disrupting the family. This was 2 or 3 years after the original split. Her mom, fed up, blurred out, “your sister came home and found your dad in bed with another woman, I couldn’t stay with him after that.” Her older sister was very affected by it, but had never said anything to my friend.

Suddenly, the anger my friend had towards her mom all those years was lifted. She still had a good relationship with her dad, and now a better one with her mom. It was unfair that her mom had been towing all of the blame for the family breaking up.

It’s hard to know what’s best.

Constant bickering or venting I think is really bad though. Her mom didn’t vent like that, she knew her ex had good qualities and never tried to interfere with him being a father.

I think the age of the child matters also.

SEKA's avatar

The bickering should remain between the adults. Children aren’t stupid and they can usually see for themselves what is going on

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I don’t think so.
They’ll eventually figure out that you were married to Ted Bundy.

janbb's avatar

No, but I do think when they are young adults they’re questions should be answered honestly if they ask about it.

ucme's avatar

This is where bad parents use their kids to score points off each other & It’s a deplorable act.

These children, coming from a broken home, have enough to deal with, they should put their well being way ahead of any personal angst.

Zaku's avatar

Depends on whether it’d be useful for them to know, or not. It’s not an easy question to answer, and hard for parents to be objective about. So probably mostly “no”... but if one of the parents is a serious crazy-making and/or dangerous piece of work, then not talking about it may be effectively lying to the kids and denying them a straight perspective on a dangerous parent.

Children in a divorce with a nasty abusive parent may very likely be the recipient of similar nasty abusive behavior from the nasty abusive parent. If the not-nasty-abusive parent avoids discussing the nasty abusive behavior of the nasty abusive parent (which the child may likely be forced to continue to be subjected to, and in the position of a child, not a spouse), that can make the parent effectively an enabler/accomplice to the nasty abuser.

Of course “venting” is different from discussing. Probably shouldn’t ever “vent”. But not talking about abusive behavior done by the parent who is still abusing a child seems like it can be an abandonment.

Love_my_doggie's avatar


I grew up with two parents who detested each other. From about the age of 9 or 10, I was forced to be the grown-up and confidant in their relationship, constantly listening to complaints and having to take sides. I can’t begin to describe the emotional damage they caused. That sort of thing is deeply harmful to a dependent child, feeling every time as if the world’s about to collapse.

The only exception is when that world is, indeed, collapsing, such as in the case of separation, divorce, imprisonment, or abandonment. Even then, the explanations should be kept simple and with as little trauma as possible.

Inspired_2write's avatar

Only when the child’s safety is in danger and or an adult asking?

snowberry's avatar

Should? No, but it happens all the time.

I know of a situation where the father convinced the court that his spouse was mentally ill and abusing the children. Because he’s a police officer, of course the court believed him. He’s a first class narcissist, and has done everything from putting his little boys in police holds, to necking with his little girl while she was in the arms of her mother, and lots of other horrible things like this The kids remain traumatized, it took a while, but the court eventually released the charges against the mom, but not before further traumatizing the family (of course)!

The court never believed the kids or their mother when they reported him, and “dear ol’ dad” remains spotless, advancing up the ranks in the police force.

Inspired_2write's avatar

It is so sad that females and or children are ignored until its too late usually later in life when they get counselling to discover the truth.
And by then so much time has passed and the damages are done.

seawulf575's avatar

Absolutely not. The kids are going to have some sort of relationship with each of their parents. It should be based on the relationship of the parent and the child, not the parent and the parent. I was always very careful not to vent to the kids about their mother. I was not afforded the same consideration. However, as time went by and the kids grew, they started seeing the toxic attacks she brought and realized I never did. When asked, I told them why I didn’t. I had a much better relationship with the kids after that.

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