This recent question felt borderline to me, and, to date, has received 2 close votes.

The question is really about how the mother and father relate to each other, and the answers it is garnering are more relationship advice than parenting advice. Granted, the context of the question is related to parenting, but the question itself is more about communication in a relationship, and the answers given would be just as valid for any number of questions not at all related to parenting.

In a previous discussion, it seems that questions from the perspective of a child asking about interacting with their parents are on topic. The main rational is that these types of questions are useful to parents, and therefore should be allowed.

Should this be extended to include questions like this one, that are useful to parents, yet not necessarily directly related to parenting?

  • 2
    "Are questions about marriage on topic?". Yes, when the also concern children.
    – Petah
    Commented Apr 2, 2013 at 10:39
  • @Petah Welcome to our meta site! Instead of putting a short comment on the question, you should provide an answer stating why, and adding details. The point of meta is to clarify the rules of the main site through discussion. See Karl Bielefeldt's answer below for an example. Please note that my raising the question here is not a criticism of you for asking; this site needs more participation on meta, so I am trying to raise awareness by generating more discussion here.
    – user420
    Commented Apr 2, 2013 at 12:06

5 Answers 5


We faced similar issues on Programmers before there was a Workplace SE. There's a Relationships and Dating proposal currently on Area 51. I imagine we would have a lot of overlap in users, so I encourage people to support the proposal. In the mean time, my vote is to be forgiving on the borderline questions.

Even after the relationships site comes online, I would still think twice about migrating, because this particular relationship problem is unique to parents. The decision they make will certainly impact their current and potential future children. That makes it a parenting decision in my book. We get a lot of questions that contain something like, "My spouse/in-laws/teacher and I can't agree on [decision about kids]." The only real difference with this question is the stakes are much higher and there are many more variables to consider, so people provided more of a process for arriving at an answer, rather than the answer directly.

The Programmers FAQ has the following venn diagram that is often quoted to clarify the workplace issues that are on topic. Perhaps something similar is needed here for relationship-related questions, replacing "All Careers" with "All Relationships" and "All Programmers" with "All Parents."

venn diagram

  • I like this approach (and not just because of the Venn diagram!). I also wasn't aware of that proposal... I'll have to keep an eye on it!
    – user420
    Commented Apr 1, 2013 at 19:17
  • +1 for digging up that good old Venn diagram. I upvoted instead of restating my opinion which is already linked in the question: if the question has value to parents then it's on-topic (even if other proposals might exist (after all, they might not launch (and even when they do, the example question is still on-topic here, IMHO))). Commented Apr 1, 2013 at 20:13

Marriage or relationship questions of parents can have very significant impacts on children. Lots of parenting is done "by example" -- e.g., if I want my children to eat nutritious food, I (try to) do so myself to demonstrate that it's enjoyable and healthy. My spouse and I are aware that our interactions and attitudes towards one another are being watched and imitated by our kids. (And we've learned they see a lot more than we expected them to, and their observations have in turn helped encourage us to be more respectful partners, but that's beginning to wander off topic.)

As long as the question concerns children, I would consider it to be topical and useful. Sure, the answer in this case may be more "relationship" advice rather than "parenting" advice, but keeping a healthy relationship is important for the ability to parent effectively. (Also, there are aspects to that question which could be considered more directly parenting, such as "make sure you have time/resources for your existing kids.")

  • Great point about modeling the behavior!
    – user420
    Commented Apr 2, 2013 at 16:20

Personally I'm disappointed that people would want to close this question. I think it is a perfectly valid question for the parenting forum.

Even if the couple had no children currently, I still think it would be a valid question. I think this for two reasons:

Firstly, an obvious outcome of this discussion could be a child.

Secondly, and most importantly, in order to find an answer to this question, you are better off asking people who have already been in that boat; ie who have kids. You are less likely to get a decent response from a relationship forum, because less people there will have kids. So while it may not seem the best place to ask the question, it is certainly the best place to get an answer. And what is more important, that people post nice, focused questions, or that they get decent answers?


I feel that given how many active users and questions per day this site has, we should be very flexible about what questions can and can't be asked. Parenting, childred, marriage, health, development, in general everything that is even slightly related to parent-child relationship should be acceptable.

Only when there are too many borderline offtopic questions should we start setting up rules and strictly following them. Other way of saying this: for such small number of questions, let common sense and our empathy decide, not some rules.

I am under the impression that this community is very friendly and tolerant and helpful - that's not something that happens too often in the internet. Let's keep it that way and don't let rules spoil it.


Personally, I think that parenting.SE should be about parenting. Not about children, not about relationships, or dealing with in-laws. The problem with the above Venn diagram is that this is called "Parenting".SE not "Parents".SE. It's about raising children (parenting), not about being a parent.

This question in particular is about "How do I resolve issues with my wife?" It has nothing to do with the topic, really, and since we do not know the person or their wife, it really seems out of scope to me.

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