Parenting Issues After Divorce #3: Trash Talking Your Ex

Parenting is challenging for everyone. Whether you are married, divorced, or a single parent, raising children is going to be one of the hardest and one of the most rewarding things you do. Divorced parents often face unique challenges that can make the process that much harder.


Having already discussed the first two subjects on our list of parenting issues after divorce, we are going to move on to our third item – not making disparaging remarks about your ex in front of your children.


“Your mom obviously has no idea how to be a decent parent!”


It’s very important that you avoid making disparaging remarks about your ex’s parenting choices. If your child is angry because you are making them go to bed earlier than their other parent would, or forbidding them from watching tv before they do their homework, don’t trash talk your ex. More specifically, don’t make derogatory remarks about your ex in front of your children.


It isn’t your child’s fault that their other parent has a different parenting style from you, and so taking it out on them wouldn’t be fair. Additionally, saying unkind things about your ex’s parenting or discipline choices will most likely upset your children, and hurt their feelings. This will result arguments that only add tension and resentment to your household. So keep your opinions about your ex, and the way they discipline, to yourself.


Most children love both of their parents, regardless of the flaws and faults that those parents may have. Saying unkind things about your ex, regardless of how accurate they might be, is hurtful to your children. After all, your children are the product of both of their parents, so insulting your ex is the same thing as indirectly insulting your child.


Keeping your opinions to yourself when you’re mad can be very hard. Finding out that your ex allowed your 12-year-old to watch R-rated movies, or allowed a sleep-over with a friend you don’t approve of can be very frustrating. It can be even harder to do when your ex isn’t following this unspoken rule of good parenting. Hearing unkind things from your children that your ex said about you can be heartbreaking. Stooping to their level won’t solve the problem, and it will only make it harder on your kids.


Find a friend, loved one or therapist to vent your frustrations to when your ex does some thing that annoys you. But remember, your children are struggling with the fact that they live in two households and their family is split up. In addition, they’re children, and despite what they may claim, they don’t know what’s best for them and they need the loving guidance of a parent to help them develop into capable, healthy adults.


In some extreme cases a parent who consistently disparages the other parent in front of or directly to the child(ren) with the intent to disrupt the bond between the other parent and the child(ren) may be engaging in “parental alienation”.  If you believe that your ex is engaging in this harmful behavior, contact our office as court intervention may be required.Join us next time as we continue this five part series on parenting struggles that divorced parents face – agreeing on discipline methods.