It is no secret that emotions often increase the stress of divorce. Even in a fairly amicable separation, divorcing adults may have some animosity toward their soon-to-be ex-spouses. When a minor child is involved in a divorce, it may seem tempting for one parent to badmouth the other parent. In other situations, a parent may learn that their spouse or some other family member, is making negative comments about how the person is parenting. When a custody dispute is hotly contested, talking down about the other parent is often more pronounced.
Researchers and mental health professionals say that badmouthing a parent in front of the children can have a negative impact on a young child’s life, that can linger into adulthood. Children are not divorcing their parents, and continue to need to feel safe and secure with each parent. Moreover, children know that they are part of both mom and dad, and speaking against the other parent is personal to the child. Moreover, putting the child in the middle of an adult dispute may suggest to the child that he or she must choose a side.