Whether you are married, separated, or divorced please stop putting the other parent down in front of your children. It is one thing to speak privately to a counselor or best friend about your frustrations with the other parent, but when you do so in front of your children, it causes them great damage.
Children are highly sensitive to the conflict going on between their parents. They want to believe in the fairy tales they’re watching on television and reading about in books. Children often feel confused and hopeless when they think of how love and relationships appear in reality. But, as parents you owe them the kindness and respect of stepping away from negative criticism of the parent that shares their DNA.
Whether the other parent is guilty of your claims or you are exaggerating their flaws for your own self-comfort, it does a child no-good to hear you bash their other parent. In fact, children often suffer from low self-esteem when their mother or father is putting down a parent they share genetic makeup with.
Perhaps a child of mixed race hears his mother or father put down the other parent based on their ethnicity (fixed trait), the child feels the residual blow that statement caused. The words you speak in anger and malice will stay with the child all throughout their lives in some cases.
Children often take divorce personally, they think it is their fault their parents are not going to live happily ever after. If you are truly seeking the best interest of your child, please reassure him or her that divorce/separation is your choice and separate from anything having to do with the child.
Make every effort to show respect towards the other parent, even if it is only because they are the other half of your child and you love your child completely. Children need as much love, reassurance, support and optimism as they can get during a difficult time.