From a young age, individuals are told that they should not gossip about others behind their backs. However, it is human to do so, and gossiping is something everyone does in their lifetime.
Even so, gossiping about or badmouthing the other parent of one’s child can have serious consequences that Illinois parents should not overlook.
What counts as badmouthing?
Badmouthing can take many forms, including:
- Using negative terms for the other parent;
- Excessively criticizing the other parent;
- Blaming the other parent for both minor and major issues; and
- Even telling lies about the other parent.
Regardless of whether parents went through a divorce or never married, it is easy for individuals to speak from anger, resentment or even frustration about the other parent without thinking. On the other hand, some parents speak ill of the other parent in front of their children on purpose, so children will “know the truth” about the other parent, from their perspective.
However, badmouthing the other parent rarely has a good outcome.
Badmouthing has profound negative effects
Breaking up a relationship and sharing custody of children is never easy, but parents must think twice before speaking ill of the other parent for two primary reasons:
- It can prolong or create disputes: If one or both parents consistently badmouth the other, it does not help to create a healthy or successful co-parenting relationship. The negative feelings parents hold towards each other will only grow. This could increase the risk of conflict and prevent parents from putting the children’s best interests first.
- It hurts the children most: Badmouthing the other parent also significantly affects children. Many children identify themselves as half one parent and half the other. Therefore, children might feel defensive about the other parent when faced with such comments. They might also internalize negative comments and apply them to themselves. This can have a considerable impact on the child’s self-esteem as well as their relationship with both of their parents.
Be a role model for children
It is a parent’s responsibility to set a good example for their children. After all, children learn from their parents’ actions.
It can be difficult to control one’s reactions to their ex-partner, but parents must understand that badmouthing the other parent will not help their children – or anyone else, for that matter – now or in the future.