Why Parents Interfere With Their Children's Relationships and Marriage

Updated on December 20, 2016

Parents interfere with relationships for a variety of reasons. In every case, their interference stems from a feeling of entitlement toward the grown child. The parent feels that, by dint of giving birth to and raising their child, they have the right to have some say in their child’s life through adulthood. This is not always a bad thing; many times it stops at mere concern for the grown child’s life and gentle, well-meant advice. Unfortunately, in many cases it goes much further than that. Both parents have the potential for this kind of controlling behavior, though it is generally much more common of mothers than fathers. Why do mothers interfere?

Misplaced concern for a person’s welfare is perhaps the leading cause of motherly interference. In many mothers’ minds, their children are still children no matter how old they are. The mother has spent the better part of the last couple of decades raising her children and advising them in everything, and it’s hard to truly grasp that they are now adults capable of making their own decisions and living with the consequences of those choices. If a mother doesn’t approve of her child’s choice of mate for any reason, she’s more likely to try to advise her child out of sheer habit, and often out of a sometimes unconscious belief that she still knows what’s best for her kids.

From the outside looking in, no one can get a clear picture of any relationship. Many people are content to confide in their significant other rather than a parent at all times – except when there’s a problem. If there are issues within the relationship, people are more likely to turn to friends or family for advice. Parents are often the natural choice. A person will have had firsthand experience of the kind of relationship his/her parents had and so can see the results of advice given. Many times, parents who have made bad decisions can share with their grown children what they wish they’d done instead. However, seeking advice from parents can have the negative side effect of making them think that there is more bad than good. When there is no problem you don’t confide in them, and when people are perfectly happy they’re much less likely to share it with people outside the relationship than if they’re unhappy.

Some mothers see every issue within a relationship as a confirmation that their misgivings about her child’s partner were right. If someone wants to believe something of someone, they are very likely to hang on to the bits of information that support their case and ignore the others. Oftentimes this is not a conscious thing, but it can lead to very meddlesome behavior on the part of a parent who thinks they’re working for their child’s best interest.

On the more dysfunctional side, mothers may interfere in a marriage because they themselves are unhappy. For some women, they’ve never been in a healthy relationship and so are convinced that any relationship their grown child is in will only lead to heartache. They can not accept that their child’s happiness is genuine, and so go looking for what must be wrong.

Another reason for meddling is general unhappiness in the mother’s own marriage. Mothers who have a very clear idea what they want but are not getting it may project their own wants on their children. The result is the constant needling, “Does she do ______ for you?” “Does he give you ______?” and the resultant lectures or disapproval if the answers should be something other than what the parent thinks it should be. Some mothers have difficulty accepting that their children are completely different people and their wants, needs, and priorities will be different.

Finally, mothers with an empty nest may have extreme difficulties giving up control of their child’s life. While no one truly has control over another, it’s somewhat easier to maintain that illusion when you have the ability to dictate bedtimes, mode of dress, and mete out punishment if the rules are not followed.

This is not to say that all meddling mothers are in any way malevolent or desire to see their children unhappy. In most cases, the intent is quite the opposite. However, mothers are humans too. They have their emotions and imperfections, and sometimes they allow their intentions to cloud their judgment and get in the way of what they’re trying to do for their children.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image


      6 months ago

      my parents dress up in costumes and follow me and my husband around everywhere we go. like one time my dad knocked on the window when me and my husband were doing it and he yelled your coming home with my young lady. im 27!

    • profile image

      Ms Belle 

      10 months ago

      My daughter's boyfriends mom wouldn't leave them alone. She always asked her son to do things for her. If not she will create a drama and made him feel guilty. He is 35 yrs old and has a good job. He is very nice man. But the problem is he lets his mom manipulate him. I hate seeing my daughter stressed out. Do I have the right to say something to her?

    • profile image

      Akor Monday 

      15 months ago

      Mine is question

      Why parents interfere in children of choosing life partner

    • profile image

      Marriya Ellen Alexandria 

      2 years ago

      But sometimes parents who interferes their child's relationship might be in a bad situation such as the two break up and especially if they have children, they are too affected.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, pairedlife.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)