Narcissistic Abuse

How to teach your Children about Unhealthy Behaviors

My ex husband was very angry at me for a long time after we divorced. His anger was justified, I had done a lot of damage to the detriment of our marriage. We both had. However, I soon learned his bitterness was bleeding into the lives of our children.

After my sons baseball game one afternoon, we got in my car and prepared to leave the park. My son sat down in the passenger seat and began crying. “What’s wrong?” I asked. He responded “nothing”. It took me probing a few more times, and refusing to leave the park for him to finally spill the beans. “Dad says you don’t want us”. 😱🤯😰

I was shocked. I gathered my thoughts. Then I asked my son “Well, do you think that’s true? Do you think I don’t want you and your sister?” “No” he replied, “but dad says..”

I explained to him that his dad was angry at me, and that’s why he was saying those things. I reassured him that I love him and his sister and they were wanted.

Below are some guidelines you can practice as situations arise with an ex who wants to undermine you to your children and help bring them a healthy understanding.

✅ Validate your child’s concerns
✅ Reassure your child they are loved by both you AND their other parent
✅ Point out the unhealthy behaviors and let them know why their parent may be making these claims (i.e your mom/dad is angry with me and this is why xyz is happening even though it’s wrong)
✅ Reassure them they are safe to always come to you with their concerns
✅ If you choose, (which I certainly did) have a conversation with your ex AWAY from the children.

DO NOT
❌ Overreact with extreme emotion/tears/anger. This will teach your child that sharing with you is unsafe
❌ Put their other parent down. I know this is difficult, but it ONLY FURTHER HURTS YOUR CHILD
❌ Share adult things with your child. Adult information is not child appropriate and is between you and your ex. NOT you and your child. Find someone else to unburden yourself to.

Lastly, when you feel like giving up, DONT. I played nice for soooooo long, and hindsight, it may be one of the only things I got right as a divorced mother.🤍

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