What Should I Do When My Parents Say Bad Things About Each Other?

Angry GirlYour parents would not have gotten a divorce if their relationship had not been strained in the first place.  In addition, divorce is a hard and stressful time, and many parents come out of a divorce with even more bitter feelings towards one another.  They should understand and appreciate that the other parent is still your parent and still important to you, but sometimes they mess up, forget that or ignore that fact and say things they shouldn’t say either to you or in front of you.

When your parents say bad things about one another, there are a few different things you should try to make the situation better.

  1. Remember that there are two sides to every story, and often when we tell stories or talk about other people we are biased by our emotions and circumstances. Make your own judgments about your parents based on your own knowledge and not based on second-hand stories or comments from one parent.
  2. Talk to your parents about the situation.  Tell them that you understand they may be upset with your other parent but that you still love them both and won’t pick one over the other.  Let them know that it hurts you to hear them saying negative things about the other parent.  Try to do this in a respectful way, but make it clear that your parent’s actions are hurting you as well, and ask them to stop talking badly about the other parent.  Hopefully this will be enough to get them to stop bad mouthing your other parent.
  3. If it is too difficult to have a conversation with your parent, write them a letter explaining the situation and asking them to stop.
  4. If you communicate with your parents and they continue to bad mouth the other parent, make a point of removing yourself from the situation next time one parent starts to speak negatively about the other.  It is not healthy for you to continue to listen to it.
  5. Remember that parents make mistakes too.  Try to forgive them even when they don’t ask for forgiveness.

Remember, no matter what one parent may say, you have the right to love both of your parents and have both of them in your life. Sometimes when one parent says something bad about the other, it is almost as if they are saying that thing about you. After all, you are one-half of each of your parents. Try not to take what your parents say personally, and remember that their words do not define who you are as a person or an individual. You are not defined by their choices or actions.