My ex insults me in front of our children, how do I approach the issue with him?

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Dear Sheila

My ex and I separated a year ago, and he’s really struggled to come to terms with our separation. We have three lovely teenagers, a 13-year-old and twins aged 15. The kids have reported back to me that he tells them I am a “worthless good for nothing” and “your mother is a born liar”. I have tried to tackle it through solicitors’ letters but then he tells them I am wasting their inheritance. It’s becoming a real issue, as it is making them and me unhappy. They tell me they tell him they don’t want to hear it but he persists. It’s getting to the point where they are reluctant to go to spend time with him because they know there will be a barrage of abuse about their dear old Mum. What should I do about his persistent and nasty griping?


Rachel, Epsom

Dear Rachel

Thank you for your letter explaining your situation.  It sounds a difficult year.

Would you be able to meet with him somewhere neutral to talk about this?  I might say something along the lines that the children have reported back to you that he is saying I am a born liar etc and just wanted to check out with him if that is the case.  You don’t say that he has denied/accepted this, rather he has had a moan about wasting money.  Then I might point out that the research is overwhelming that conflict between parents is the most damaging to their emotional development.  Children know that they are made up of 50% Dad and 50% Mum so every time he rubbishes you, he is really rubbishing the mummy half of them.  This will affect their wellbeing, self-esteem, confidence etc.   His feelings are spilling over to them, and it is not their job to soak them up.  It might be that he will need someone other than you to tell him this.  Does he have a family member, mum, dad, sibling that might be able to intervene?   Your twins are of an age when they will vote with their feet and if that relationship breaks down it is the twins who will lose out.

I am copying below some Top Tips for parents compiled by CAFCASS written by children of separated parents.  Why don’t you say that you have found this useful and thought he might too?

Good luck with it all,


Family Justice Young People's Board - Top Tips

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