Monkey in the Middle
Anytime we have disagreements with other people, it is our instinct as human beings to have someone on our "side." When you get divorced or are getting divorced, it is very tempting to talk with friends and family about who was "right" or "wrong" or who the fault lies with in the divorce. It's okay, it's even therapeutic, to discuss your situation with your adult friends and family. It's tempting to talk about who was at fault in the marriage with your children also, but don't do it. Don't discuss how horrible you think your ex is at all. It's okay for children to know some of the facts as long as it is age appropriate.
If you are thinking of telling your eight year old that daddy was sleeping with his secretary, you shouldn't tell your eight year old. If your fifteen year old wants to know if daddy had an affair, you may just have to use your own discretion. Name calling should never ever happen.
Even if your ex wife cheated on you and you telling your best friend that she is the biggest slut that ever lived makes you feel better, that's fine. Just don't say it to your kids. All of the bad things you say to your children about your ex will hurt them. It doesn't even matter if it is all true.
You will hurt them. Even if your children are mad at your ex or say they don't even like them anymore, you making them side with you will only make things worse. They still love your ex and they should.
That person is their parent. You don't want to make them feel like they have to choose. You also can't worry about what your ex is saying to your child. You should both try to get past your personal relationship and still try to be a unified front as the parents of your children, but let's face it. Sometimes that isn't possible. You may find the way that your ex parents is completely unacceptable to you.
You may think or even know that your ex is bad mouthing you left and right, but there is not one thing you can do about it. Trying to get even will do nothing but end up hurting your children worse. The funny thing about all of this is that the truth will prevail. If your children are always hearing you ex talk about you in a negative way, give your kids some credit.
They are smarter than you think. Even if they stop and think about what your ex is saying, they will eventually know the score. Just do the right thing and keep your mouth shut about your ex.
Remember, "less said, best said.".
Len Stauffenger's parents taught him life's simple wisdom. As a divorced dad, he wanted to share that simple wisdom with his girls. "Getting Over It: Wisdom for Divorced Parents," his book, is the solution. Len is an author, a Success Coach and an Attorney. http://www.wisdomfordivorcedparents.com
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