Do You find yourself doing any of the following?
- Make your children choose between you and your ex?
- Argue with the other parent in front of your child?
- Use your child as a messenger or mediator?
- Speak badly about the other parent to a relative, friend or colleague in the presence of your child?
- Ask your child questions about the other parent’s lifestyle, activities or relationships?
- Make promises you don’t keep.
- Withhold access to the other parent because child support has not been paid?
- Put down the other parent in front of your child?
No one sets out to be the toxic parent, but divorce can bring out the worst in us. If you find yourself doing any of the above, you are causing your kids unnecessary pain and damaging their relationship not just with your ex, but with you too!
If you recognize any of these habits as your own, STOP! Get help so you can vent your anger and hurt to someone who is not your kid. Unless there are issues of violence or acute mental illness, the best outcome for kids in divorcing families is to have loving relationships with both their parents. And rest assured that the parent who indulges in the habits above will eventually lose the respect of their child. Its almost as if your efforts to win your child over to your side will have the opposite effect.
No matter how angry you are at your ex, take the high road. For the sake of your children, be watchful of your words this season!
Adapted from Soila Sindiyo, author of When Love is Broken, @soilaSindiyo