The dangers of badmouthing your ex

How should you handle it if your ex badmouths you to the kids?

I think the answer is take the high road every time. It can be really challenging when you go through a divorce not to say something bad about the kids, but if you hear from the kids that their father said, “Your mother’s a whore” or your ex said that, “Your father is an asshole,” what should you do about that?

I think the thing to do is to tell the kids that you’re going through a really difficult time with their father or their mother and not to say, “Oh yeah? Well, she’s a bitch” or “Oh yeah?” and to respond in kind. That’s the worst thing you can do. It’s so alienating for your children to feel stuck in the middle between two battling parents, battling overhead.

The best thing to do is to explain where that behavior comes from as best as you possibly can, and this can be really hard to do at times, but to be able to say, “You know, your dad and I disagree really strongly about that. We’re working it through, but one thing we really agree on is that we both really love you and we both want you to be okay” or “One thing that we really agree on is that we both want to be so involved in your lives, it’s hard to know how to share your precious time” or something like that so that the children feels supported and loved by both parties and you don’t engage them as a go-between in any way, shape, or form even if you don’t mean it, as a go-between between the two of you. They need to feel supported and loved and you need to resist saying bad things in response to negative statements you hear about your ex.