No Trash Talk

One of the most disturbing things I hear from children and adolescents is that they are upset because their separated or divorced parents talk in a rude or disrespectful way about each other to the children or in their presence. This experience is so damaging to the child and can greatly hinder their adjustment to the divorce.  Divorce is difficult for everyone. And maintaining cordial relationships with a divorced partner can be very challenging. However, to the degree that couples are able to do so, their children will benefit enormously.  Children whose parents are divorcing deserve to be able to have healthy relationships with both their parents. This is in the child’s emotional best interest even if it may feel threatening to the parents. Often parents who are divorcing, play a game trying to be the favored parent by sending subtle or overt messages to the children that the other parent is bad or at fault. This puts the child in the middle and forces him/her to make an unfair choice between parents. One of the ways parents do this is by making rude or disrespectful comments about their ex spouse to the children, or in the presence of the children. Sometimes other family members or friends of the parents will do this as well. It is up to the parents to insist that this not happen. Talk to your family members and friends and ask them not to to make any disparaging comments about your ex spouse in the presence of the children. And no matter how much resentment you may have toward your ex do not speak rudely of him or her to your children. You will all reap the benefits of a healthier adjustment.


About Gretchen Derda (Woosley), MSW, LCSW

I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in a private psychotherapy practice where I specialize in work with families and children. My focus is to help families improve their functioning so that each member of the family can reach their full potential, becoming the persons they were meant to be.
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1 Response to No Trash Talk

  1. Mary Herring says:

    Nice letter. Divorce isn’t fun for anyone. I tried to be so strong for Jimmy . He was 4.

    Sent from my iPhone


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