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I have always maintained that one parent should never badmouth the other to their child. Regardless of how much you hate them, or what they’ve done to you, keep those feelings to yourself. You may think that you are making yourself look better, but at the end of the day you are only damaging your child. It’s not a good or healthy thing to do.
Let’s say your husband cheated on you, and because of that you split. Obviously, and rightfully so, you are going to be angry at him. However, let’s say this man pays his child support, he’s involved in his child’s life, and he’s doing his job, then in that case, he’s being a good father. The child will love him and grow to still have a relationship with him. If you start to speak ill of dad, you will create trouble where there needs to be none. He did you wrong, but though he failed as a husband, he’s doing his job as a father. When it comes to that child, this is all that matters.
I use the husband cheating because I’m a man, and more often than not, if we are honest, its the man who messes things up. Usually mom keeps primary custody of the child. There are exceptions, but I’m speaking in general terms.
I do the opposite when it comes to my son’s mom. I elevate her to a position of queen and I tell him how great a mom she is. I tell him how she’s the one who’s been there for him most. Even though I’ve been present, his mom has been the one who’s done the real heavy lifting. I tell him that he should never forget that and always respect and honor his mother.
There was a period when his mom used to tell him negative things about me, but he would always defend me. So when I found out, I spoke to her about it and she understood my point. I’ve never denied that we are not together due to my wrong doing, and I have owned up to this in front of my son. He once asked me, “Why are you not with my mom? Why don’t we live together?” I told him, “Daddy made some mistakes and hurt mommy. We were no longer compatible so it was best that I leave. But it was my fault, and I’m sorry he got hurt by it.” That was a hard conversation to have, but my son knows my truth. He also knows that I’ve tried my best to make things right and still be a good father to him and a supportive co-parent for his mom.
To this day his mom and I are good friends and we can rely on each other for nearly anything. In fact, just this past Friday, she was the one who helped me take Roxy to a new foster home on her day off. We have a powerful bond that goes beyond just my child. I know this isn’t always possible, but at a minimum, you should not fight with or bad mouth the other parent. Hate them all that you want, but keep that hate to yourself, your kid need not be involved.