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Badmouthing your Ex is a Bad Idea

Badmouthing is the act of speaking about a third party in a derogatory, insulting or untruthful manner. Badmouthing between former spouses during or following a divorce is not uncommon, but it is harmful. As difficult as it may be to resist an occasional verbal tirade, doing so in front of your children is a mistake that can cause them serious emotional harm. 

Different types of badmouthing behaviors 

Criticizing

When you criticize your ex in front of your children you undermine their inherent need to love their parents. Children feel safest when they are confident in the bond between them and their parents, regardless of the relationship between the parents themselves. There is no need to be concerned that your child is not aware of their parent’s defects. As they mature they learn to identify weaknesses and neuroses in everyone. 

Climbing on the bandwagon

Children have a need to vent their feelings just as adults do. When your child voices frustration, disappointment or anger at your ex, your job is to listen and offer support. Never use your child’s outburst as an opportunity to express your own negative views. Allow the child to vent and listen in an active and supportive manner. 

Divulging secrets

A common angle some former partners take is imparting information to children that should be kept between the adults. Children become anxious when brought into adult business. Try not to fall into the trap of thinking they have a right to know. All they need to know is that both parents love them.

A common angle some former partners take is imparting information to children that should be kept between the adults. Children become anxious when brought into adult business. Try not to fall into the trap of thinking they have a right to know. All they need to know is that both parents love them. 

Parental Alienation Syndrome 

Badmouthing is an unfortunate and destructive behavior, but if it is part of a larger attempt to alienate a child from the target parent, it is insidious and dangerous. Parental Alienation Syndrome results from a pattern of behaviors including badmouthing, unwillingness to conform to visitation guidelines, demonizing of the target parent and an attempt to completely remove that parent from the child’s life. 

A Buffalo area divorce and child custody attorney can advocate for you if your ex is not complying with the specifics of your time-sharing agreement. If you believe your ex is engaging in behavior that is jeopardizing your child's relationship with you, be in touch with us today.

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