Divorce isn’t the child’s fault. Don’t say anything unkind about your ex to the child, because you’re really just hurting the child.
Photo Source: http://www.womensconference.org
This statement while simplistic, is true. Children are naive to the divorce process. They are curious of wanting to know why you are no longer married or in their world (why you don’t love mommy or daddy anymore). They wonder if they are part of the reason. As a parent you have to keep reassuring your sprouts multiple times that they are loved by both parents. Now, I am not perfect….so I admit to becoming frustrated with their father a few times to the point I cannot contain my inner thoughts. Sometimes you can’t hold your tongue when the person is running late and insensitive to your schedule or the two of you do not see eye to eye on financial matters on behalf of your children. The brief encounters the two of you do have with each other are now almost all the time in front of the children. When we become indifferent with one another, it is not easy to mask our anger and disappointment. If there is a slip of the tongue (which is mumbled) or my children witness our voices elevated at one another, I make sure the first opportunity in speaking with my children that I shower compliments of how great of a father the children have and how lucky they are to have him in his life. If my son has something negative to say, on why his father is always working and his time is limited, I quickly negate that idea in his head and remind him of the recent bonding times he shared with his father.
It is our responsibility as parents to reinforce that positive image of the other parent. This is despite your personal feelings towards him or her. Ill-judgment happens when emotions become tainted with disappointment that sometimes impair your ideal co-parenting existence. When it does, while you cannot take back the moment, you can reinforce the positive and undermine the negative going forward. Divorce and existing as parents post-divorce is a challenge to the parents and sprouts. So while maybe your ex-spouse was not the best wife or husband, don’t discount that person’s qualities as a wonderful parent. Do not stress the little things but look at the big picture. Is your ex-spouse trying to be the best parent that they know how in a non-traditional family setting? If he or she is, Kudos is deserved.