The relationship couldn’t be repaired. It doesn’t mean that you have to leave the children broken. Whether you were with your co-parent for one night or 20 years, the children would prefer that you be together.
Since you can’t be together physically, you can be in building them up. And, nothing breaks their spirit down faster than hearing their parents argue or degrade each other.
Unfortunately, many times relationships end on a sour note. There were things said or done and sometimes resentment built up over time that is expressed after the breakup. However, the strain between the exes should not be the burden of the children. The goal is to raise healthy and well adjusted children that will have healthy relationships. Just because you and your ex are not together doesn’t mean that you can’t have a healthy relationship in your new status. Rarely is the decision truly mutual to separate; therefore someone was “left” and there may be unresolved emotions around that, which could leave one person wanting revenge and possibly the other with guilt.
If your ex speaks ill of you in front of or to your children, don’t lose it. Count to ten, then focus on the beautiful beings that came from the union. Being the communicator that I am (or at least try to be), my first line of defense is always to speak with the offender. Don’t go with attitude, but with an olive branch and understanding of where the hurt may be coming from. Here is where the hard work comes in. You’ll have to put your claws away and work at listening and getting your point across. In addition, you may to bite your tongue.
If the news of teh bad mouthing comes from your children, then take a moment to talk with them about it. Do not take the opportunity to speak equally ill of him. Your ability to take the high road will pay off. No matter how young or old your children are, they will develop their own assessment of each of you. Assuming what your ex is saying has no merit, your children will make their own judgment of the situation. If what he says is true, still talk with the children about it and commit to doing something different.
Children love their parents, no matter how challenging one or both may be. Teaching them to handle their hurt by hurling insults is a bad set up for the future. We’re raising husbands and wives of the future. Let’s set them up for success.