Parenting · Wellness

Honor Thy Father- A Letter to Single Moms: 8 Reasons Why Not to Badmouth Your Ex

Dear Solo Mom

It’s Father’s Day. This  weekend makes a lot of solo moms cringe.

I was once a single mom and I want to share my thoughts.

I am not going to tell you, that you’re mom and dad- you’re not and you don’t need to be. Just be a mother doing your best.

I am not going to say, you are enough and that your children don’t need a father. They do.

But a father is not only a biological father or a stepdad. A father figure can be a soccer coach, a grandpa, an uncle, an older brother, a church leader. Encourage your child to build a good relationship with one or better with several. A child must know what a good man looks like.

Carl and Dave in Michigan

But what I really want to share is a choice I made when I was a solo mom. I chose not to bad mouth their dad. I did the opposite – I reminded them of his good qualities and what he has done for them. I wanted my kids to grow up into well-adjusted adults.

Honor Thy Father

Teach your children, to honor their father. Do not speak ill about him.  I will share with you why.

  1. Because God said so. When we talk ill about our ex, we are actually teaching our children to disrespect a parent. Why should your child disrespect him and not you? We are all flawed, anyway.
  2. He is part of your child.  My sons, who didn’t grow up with their father, sound exactly like him when they laugh. They look like him. So, I tell them, don’t hate your father. It’s like hating half of yourself. Putting down your ex is like putting down your own child. Remember, every time you tell your child that his dad is a “no good idiot” you are telling him that half of him is no good.  
  3. Your children might develop self-shame. Constantly telling them about their “good for nothing lazy father” tells them there is nothing good where they came from. I know that my sons will have future partners and in-laws and I don’t want them to be ashamed of who they are and where they came from
  4. It hurts your child. Despite your damaged relationship with your ex, your child’s relationship with him is another matter. Give your child that chance to keep on loving his parent- if that is the case. It is not something you should resent. When someone we love is put down by anyone, it hurts. That is especially painful if it’s a parent putting down another parent.
  5. Resenting their father will create resentment with any adult male figure who may remind them of their father. This may affect their relationship with any future partner you may want to introduce in their life later.
  6. You’re asking your child to choose sides. You are creating feelings of conflict in your child- self-blame, guilt, and self-hatred because they feel love for the other parent. Children who grow up resenting the other parent, develop very slow self-esteem.
  7. You are teaching your child how to be a victim. Every time he doesn’t do well, he will blame his father for “the good education his stingy father denied him”.
  8. Badmouthing your ex can backfire. Your kids may grow to resent your constant negativity and think that the other parent is the underdog. Children get tired, too.

The Sins of the Father

When separation or divorce happens, it is easy to demonize all the mistakes of our partners.

Should you lie or  and not say anything about their father? Not all silence is golden. Be truthful but spare them of the gory details.  Most often, our children know the truth, anyway. If you need to vent and talk about your hurts, find a support group or a good friend.

In the end, we have to ask, is hatred more important than my love for my child? You don’t need to constantly remind them of the “sins of their father”.

Thank you for spending time,

Leah

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