Negative Comments about Your Ex

Posted: October 5, 2009 in family law
Tags: , , ,

I recently read an article about Bashing Your Ex and the effects it has on your children.  It made me think about my own childhood when my parents were getting divorced and hearing the negative comments from both parents about the other parent.  I was old enough to know that I didn’t like hearing these comments from either one and I was also old enough to voice my opinion to both parents about their comments.

Many children can’t do this, like my younger brother and sister.  I am sure that what my parents said affected them much more than me and still does to this day.  None of us talk about it to each other to this day, but there are things that occur that remind me how what parents perceive as “just a comment” about the other parent has affected all of us.

When I divorced my sons father years ago, I made sure that I never said a negative word about their father in front of them or to anyone that it would get back to them.  Was it difficult to do?  You bet!  I am not perfect and I am not a saint, but I did not want my children growing up knowing that their parents didn’t like each other and think that it meant we didn’t like or even love them.

My sons are now grown and have children of their own.  Recently, we discussed how the divorce affected them and I was surprised by some of the comments and happy about some of them too.  While their father chose to be an absentee parent for a big part of their lives and was critical of them when he did participate, they could never remember hearing from me anything negative about their father and were able to make up their own minds about their feelings for their father as children.

Both of my sons have had contact with their father, for the most part they tell me it has not been easy and they are not close to him.  They wish it could have been different but they know that it was not because of them or anything that I said or did to cause their relationship with their father to be so distant.

So, when you really want to make that snide or sarcastic comment about your ex, criticize them for something they did or didn’t do, remember that your children are listening and watching you and will remember everything that went on during your divorce and even after when you are still co-parenting your children together.  As hard as it can be, find some good things to say about their other parent or keep it to yourself.

You will will reap the benefits of your being the parent who made sure they put their children’s best interests first.  Children grow into adults who remember the time their parents divorced and will admire and respect their parents for the mature, positive role-models they were during this difficult time.  And if only one of them was the positive one, make sure it is you, the rewards of this are more than you can ever imagine!

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