Was your ex loved by your family? Or were they critical about your ex in front of you? Did their words bruise your very soul? Their words made you want to run away and hide between your shrugged shoulders, didn't they? These are the feelings your children get to feel when you talk about your ex in a negative way in front of them. It's not fair. It's not fair to your ex or to your children.
It's not fair to you. It doesn't make sense to say horrible things about the person you once loved so much that you decided to enter into a committed relationship with them. There had to be something so good about your ex that you made the decision to join your life with theirs. What happened between then and now? You changed your mind, that's what happened.
Inside your mind, you went from love to hatred. The things you once loved about your ex, you now hate. You may have very good reasons for the change in your thinking in their regards. Those things might have happened to you.
They did not happen to your children. Your children have their own experience of their other parent and they deserve to enjoy that untainted by your experience of him/her. Your children will learn all about your ex's shortcomings all on their own eventually.
Your very best activity for the sake of your children is not to badmouth your ex in front of them. If your husband is determinably immature, he'll remain that way. If your wife really is a slut, then she'll always be a slut. That's going to be their problem to fix or not. Don't let it be yours.
I would hate to go through life as the most selfish S. O. B. in your town, or the worst prostitute, but if that is what they chose for themselves, they'll have to live out their life sentence in the category that is named: What goes around comes around. In my experience, the really selfish people are really unhappy people.
Isn't it obvious how this relates to your children? Even if they don't care who is at fault, they have to deal with the way the world is. Their world is such that mom and dad don't live together anymore. They have a remarkable resiliency though. They can adjust to that, and they can put it behind them, and they can live happy, healthy lives. The question is, is it behind them? It can never be if you keep bringing up the fact that their dad is bad or their mom is selfish.
You continue to cause them pain and hold them back. If their dad is truly selfish, they'll see that over time on their own. Do you want them to grow up to be selfish? Kids learn by modeling. If your ex-husband is selfish, they will be spending some time around a selfish person. They need to also spend some time around a healthy, happy person. That's you.
They will see over time how their dad or their mom treats other people. They will see that dad is selfish, but it doesn't make him happy. You, on the other hand, give them the example of an unselfish, caring person and they'll see that the universe brings you peace, love and happiness.
No, your life won't be perfect. No one's is. Raising children is not just one quick effort. It's a long marathon, day after day. And the best way to raise healthy, happy children is to continually strive each day to be the best person that you can be.
They'll get it. Just don't make it harder on them with your unkind, critical words about their other parent. Don't badmouth your ex where your children might hear you.
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