Law Office of Stephen W. Penn and Associates

4 Reasons parents shouldn't badmouth their ex

It's completely natural and reasonable to feel negative toward your ex during a divorce. However, there are a number of reasons why it's very important to take the high road.

Here are just a few to consider.

1. Your child's sense of trust

Whether it seems like it or not, your child sees both you and your ex as role models. There may be plenty of behaviors you'd rather your child not model after your ex. But, telling your child negative things about their parent can leave a life-long scar on their ability to trust.

Each of you is the most important and consistent figures in your child's life after all. If they can't trust that they should learn from you, who can they trust? In their future relationships, both romantic and platonic, they will be likely to question the other person's dedication and true feelings if their parents seem to harbor negative thoughts about each other.

2. The custody order

If your child is not old enough to use social media, you may want to look to this community to tell your side of the story about the divorce. However, badmouthing your ex online can be used in court to show your instability as a positive role model for your child.

This can impact the custody order, leaving you with less time to spend with your kid.

3. Your child's behavior

The lessons we learned about not saying anything at all if you don't have something nice to say are sometimes abandoned in adulthood. Again, it's natural to feel upset toward your ex.

However, allowing these negative feels to impact your child will lead to their unhappiness and yours. Being nice to others leads to a happier, more successful life.

4. Your co-parenting flexibility

Someday, it may be useful for you to have a positive co-parenting relationship with your ex-spouse. This will allow you some extra flexibility with the parent-time schedule when you're running home late from work or your vehicle breaks down right after soccer practice ends.

At the moment, it may be difficult to imagine moving on from the way you feel about your ex-spouse. But, just as with any breakup, the feelings you have toward your ex will lessen with time. Having a positive co-parenting relationship could even be helpful years down the road if your children host for the holidays.

Seeking solace

You can share your emotional state with your children, but it's important not to have a full-on breakdown or place fault on your ex. Instead, you may simply relay that you are feeling unhappy that the match did not work better.

Confide in trusted friends and family about the details of your feelings while the kids are not around. Getting the help of an experienced divorce attorney can also help provide you with some comfort in that you won't need to worry about the fairness of your agreements and legal paperwork during this difficult time.

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