How to Stop Bad-Mouthing Your Ex for Your Child’s Sake and Yours

How to stop bad-mouthing your ex and the effects it has on your kids. Even calling our ex by the name of “ex’ is negative. Steps single parents can take to model loving behavior to their kids.

Below is an overview of my interview with Chere Williams about co-parenting and the pitfalls of single parents bad-mouthing their child’s other parent. You can listen to the full conversation on Grace for Single Parents podcast #11 wherever you listen to podcasts.

I noticed as a single parent, unfortunately, a lot of times we’re labeled unfairly and judged and given like this label and I wanted to break that and say, you’re not a statistic.

~Chere Williams

Bad-Mouthing Your Ex / Your Child’s Father

  • Bad-mouthing is not who you are. You’re better than that.
  •  Really think about when you are in this place of bad-mouthing, how do you feel afterward? At the moment you may be feeling vindicated, but after that, I really don’t think anyone feels that great afterward, because it’s not who you are, it’s not who you’re created to be and it doesn’t represent that light that we are supposed to be.
  • We probably should stop saying the word ex because when you think of the word ex it’s like you’re exed out. It’s very negative, it makes you feel like you’re just exed out.
  • When you have a child with somebody, it’s special. It’s that one person on the planet that you have this connection with for the rest of your life, whether you like it or not. You’re probably going to share things, you’re going to probably share grandchildren and marriages and, when we look at people as our ex, we dehumanize them.
  • I would hope that the language single parents use about their children’s father, they think about it before they say it in front of their child.

Related: 20 Life-Changing Bible Verses About God’s Forgiveness

         I think it’s a journey, but I do think we need to change the language that we use.

~Chere Williams

Related: Setting Boundaries with an Ex-Spouse

Effects of Bad-Mouthing Your Ex on Our Kids

  • Our children are still a part of them. And so if we are talking about their fathers, kids internalize things.
  • There’s this kind of like lack of self-confidence. They feel awful about the relationship and you see the effects of that on the kids.
  • Language is powerful
  • Watching our language is important because our children are observing us.
  • It’s really important that we model our relationship with their father in a way that’s healthy for them. And there’s still a way to do that in situations that are not ideal.

         If we’re constantly thinking of them [our child’s father] in a way that’s negative and constantly rehashing the past, our actions will reflect that.

~Chere Williams

Related: Does Your Ex Still Have Control Over You?

Praying for Your Ex / Your Child’s Father

A challenge for everybody to do a 30-day prayer challenge for 30 days, if you’re in a place with your ex where it’s really bad, pray for them.

And that may not seem like the easiest thing to do and maybe it’s not, but even if it means praying with your children at night and putting in that special prayer for their father.

Click one of the images below to download a free 30 day prayer habit tracker.

Click to download the prayer tracker.
Click to download the prayer challenge.

        Intentionally making it a point to pray for them [your child’s father] because we can’t change hearts. We can’t change what people think. We can’t, but God can.

~Chere Williams

Related: God-Centered Co-parenting Strategies

Co-Parenting Struggles & Healing From Your Relationship

  • Co-parenting takes so much patience, cooperation, respect, kindness.
  • That’s not always an easy place to get to. Because let’s face it, the relationship didn’t end because everything was going well.
  • So to think that co-parenting is just going to be easy, it’s just crazy cause it’s not going to be. But it doesn’t mean that it has to be awful either.
  • We don’t do a service to ourselves by a holding onto anger, and bitterness and resentment. We’re affecting our kids, we’re affecting ourselves, we’re affecting our ex.
  • If we want healthy children, we should try at least to have this healthier relationship with their father.
  • It’s healthy to say how we’re feeling. It’s not good to suppress it, but I think when it starts to consume you, it becomes really toxic and venomous.
  • One of the scriptures that I read that really stuck with me was Galatians 5:15 and it says, if you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out, or you will be destroyed by each other.
  • And I thought that resonated so well with that process of coming to a point where you’re not constantly biting each other. So eventually that’s going to seep out into different areas of your life and your family’s life. I found that to start the healing process, it really begins with me.
  •  That’s not gonna happen overnight, but it can happen. It comes to a point where I have to make a decision, either I’m going to stay in this place of anger, bitterness, and resentment, or I’m going to move to a healthier place so that I can bring my family to a healthier place.

Related: How to Co-Parent with Grace

        I find that the one of the most important things that you can do is self-reflection and take accountability and take responsibility and start to look at your part in it.

~Chere Williams
  • A lot of times it’s not really the other person that we’re mad at. A lot of times we’re mad at ourselves. And so first we need to take a look inside and say, Hey, what do I need to clean out so that I can deal with this in a healthy way?
  • This is a process, it’s not done in a day or two, it can take months, it can take years, but it really does start with that self-reflection and that accountability.
  • You have to be generous with your forgiving of yourself for anything that has gone wrong. Cause it does take two to tango and we sit here and we play the blame game a lot, but that doesn’t really get us to the place that we need to be to move forward.
  • What do we need to do to forgive ourselves or to take accountability and responsibility to move forward in a different way? And to honor what we’ve been through as well.
  • Find the different types of things that trigger your emotional outbursts. It’s kind of like that irritant and when you know it, then you see it, you’re less likely to react to it. If you train yourself to say, Hey, you know what, I’m just not going to react to this.
  • Something happened a while back and it triggered something and I could feel that same sense of anger coming up. I thought about it and I thought, I’m really just picking at the scab.

        It’s really important to know your triggers and do not pick at it. Because what happens is it’s not going to heal. I talk about that in the book and I also talk about how Mark 2:22 says like, don’t pour old wine into new wineskins because it will burst.

~Chere Williams
  • When we dishonor somebody, we’re really dishonoring God. We’re told to be the peacemaker, we’re told to seek good and to have our conversations seasoned with grace.
  • I don’t think you can do it on your own all the time. You need to be in prayer about it. Like when you’re going to court with somebody that’s one the most terrible times because you’re going to court with somebody that obviously you once probably loved and it’s just such a high strung time. You’re stretched emotionally, financially, and every single way.
  • The Bible talks about trials and how like trials give us perseverance and it takes us to a good place so that we can see what God can do for our lives. And I think that in this relationship with the co-parenting and trying to figure out a different dynamic, we can take all of that and bring it into a place that will help us get to the next level.

          You can either bring life or death to a situation with your words. It starts with us and embracing the situation instead of bad-mouthing and tearing them [our child’s father] down.

~Chere Williams

This was an overview of my interview with Chere Williams about co-parenting and the pitfalls of single parents bad-mouthing their child’s other parent. You can listen to the full conversation on Grace for Single Parents podcast #11 wherever you listen to podcasts.

chere williams

Chere Williams is a speaker, blogger, and writer. She was the owner of the blog, “A Single Christian Mom’s Advice on Making Life Easier,” for the past ten years, and now the newly created, “Faith Coffee and a Kid,” launching mid-December. She also is the owner of Home Sweet Home Binders where she creates fun printables for the home. She’s been listed among the Top 15 Single Moms Blogs in Earnest Parenting the Top 25 Single Mom Blogs in Circle of Moms and recognized in the Top 50 Parenting Blogs in My Kids Need

She was a weekly columnist for Moms of Faith and a Mom Mentor for Graham Blanchard Publishing. She is currently busy getting ready to launch her ebook, “15 Tips on Avoiding Single Mom Burnout,” and host workshops to encourage women and girls to live on purpose! She lives in Takoma Park, MD with her 13-year-old daughter Anya and their adorable pup, Winter.

How to Stop Bad-Mouthing Your Ex for Your Child\'s Sake and Yours