Badmouthing between divorced parents harms children 

Photo of attorney Melinda L. Singer

Parents who are divorced might not have anything nice to say about each other. Keeping those negative thoughts to themselves is beneficial in these situations. When either parent is badmouthed, the children are the ones who suffer. 

If you find out that your ex or another adult is badmouthing you, getting angry might be your initial reaction. Keeping your cool and addressing the situation in a calm manner might be a better option than succumbing to a knee-jerk reaction. Here are three things you can do:

Document the incidents

Keeping a record of the badmouthing might be important, especially if your ex is the one who’s doing it. There’s a chance that you’ll have to turn to the court if the behavior doesn’t stop. Being able to state exactly when the badmouthing happened and to whom can be helpful. 

Discuss the badmouthing

Discussing the badmouthing with the person who’s doing it might be enough to make it stop. Try to do this in a business-like manner instead of attacking them. You don’t have to do this in person. You can opt to email or text if you aren’t comfortable with a face-to-face conversation. If the person badmouthing is your ex’s friend or family member, the best person to talk to might be your ex so they know what’s going on. They may be able to put an end to it.

Talk to the children

Talking to your children won’t stop the badmouthing but it gives you a chance to answer any questions they have. You can also set the record straight about whatever the badmouthing was regarding. 

The parenting plan you set is one of the most effective ways to reduce conflict when you’re co-parenting. Having a detailed document is beneficial because both adults can review the terms to ensure they’re being followed. 

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