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Why badmouthing your ex can directly harm your child

When committed and loving parents are contemplating the arrival of their children, they often make pronouncements like, “I hope she has your smile,” and “I hope he has your laugh.” Whether children are biologically linked to their parents or not, parents often seek to see themselves and their partners in their children.

However, when parents get divorced, they often seem to forget that their beloved children are linked to both parents. As a result, the frustrations which arise as a result of child custody disputes and divorce litigation can lead to one parent badmouthing the other in front of a child. The very fact that this child is tied to both parents is the primary reason why such badmouthing should not occur.

Your child’s other parent may indeed deserve to have every insult in the book hurled at him or her. However, your child almost certainly internalizes criticisms, insults and negative comments meant for your ex as a reflection of himself or herself.

A district judge recently explained exactly why it is imperative that you avoid badmouthing your ex in front of your child. “Remember that, because every time you tell your child what an ‘idiot’ his father is, or what a ‘fool’ his mother is, or how bad the absent parent is, or what terrible things that person has done, you are telling the child half of him or her is bad.”

Even if you believe that your child can distinguish between you badmouthing his or her other parent and you badmouthing your child, the harm that such actions can produce is not worth the risk of such vocalizations.

Source: The Huffington Post, “Two Good Parents, One Lost Child,” Michael Jascz, June 2, 2014

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