“Mommy doesn’t love me anymore and is moving out.”
“I’m going now because your mother is kicking me out.”
This is just a sample of some of the things I’ve heard (or heard of) divorced parents say to their children in the last month. Unfortunately I’m not allowed to walk up and slap these people – because I really want to. Each one was said in a fairly calm manner, yet there seems to be no sense of just how harmful these words are.
So how do you think a child feels when someone they love and are bonded to is spoken poorly about? The criticism lands squarely on the child – they must be bad or wrong somehow for loving this terrible person. Make no mistake, you have hurt your child.
In some cases parents admit they want to drive a wedge between a child and the other parent – they think the other parent is so despicable that the child is better off not having a relationship there, but that is not your choice. Every child has the right to maintain a good relationship with both parents. Your child did not ask for this divorce and you have no right to make them suffer by speaking poorly of your ex-spouse no matter how awful a person you think they may be or what a poor example you think they might set.
If your ex is truly an awful person, your children will figure that out just fine on their own. Your efforts to show your child what a terrible parent your ex is will only make you look bad in your son or daughter’s eyes.
It is not uncommon nor surprising that there can be tension and conflict when you try to raise a child with your ex - obviously there is some reason you're no longer married to this person. Although your divorce is final, your parenting relationship is forever and you have to expect there to be bumps along the way. Co-parenting plans can be modified to deal with issues that arise and mediation is an excellent way to achieve harmony in your co-parenting relationship. There is a better way!