While co-parenting is often in the best interests of your children, there are situations where the arrangement can go south for the parents. Parents who let their negative feelings affect how they talk about their ex in front of their children could be doing more damage to the kids.
Badmouthing the other parent can result in parental alienation.
How does badmouthing cause parental alienation?
How you and your spouse talk about each other in front of your children makes a difference. Kids emulate their parents. They do not want to upset them and if one parent voices anger or resentment, the kids might start to imitate it. The kids will try to hide that they care about the other parent in order to seek validation. Children might feel guilt about enjoying time with the other parent.
What are the consequences of alienation?
When one parent alienates the other, children may start to act out with the alienated parent. Your kids might try to refuse to see you or beg you not to tell the other parent about any fun you had together. Kids start to blame you and resent you without any reason or logic behind it. Alienation might cause your children go through a grieving process because it feels like they lost a parent. Parental alienation can be a form of child abuse. When one parent poisons the kids against the co-parent, it has severe negative psychological effects.
You have a right to fight for your child when your co-parent compromises your child’s best interests.