Each month DK Simoneau addresses readers questions about shared custody, parenting, and split family living situations.  To submit a question, please use the form below.

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February 17, 2009
How can I not let my ex teach my 3-year old to hate my new husband?
Question: My husband and I have been battling with my ex-boyfriend who I have a 3 year old son with.  We do split custody, which I am not fond of and thinking of going back to my lawyer to get my son 80 percent or more of the time.  My ex is teaching my 3 year old to hate my husband and call him terrible names, it seems to be getting worse!  My husband and I don't know what to do??  We love our 3 year old soo much and are so upset about this!  Any advice?  Please help. AM
That is a difficult situation of course.  But I can tell you that putting a child through any kind of custody battle is not easy on the child and probably not going to improve your ex-boyfriend's behavior, in fact it will likely aggrivate it. I'm wondering if you've tried "ignoring" it when your 3 year-old says these awful things, so as not to draw attention.  He may be realizing when you are trying to get him to stop that it is getting him great attention and does it more.  Just simply ignore it, and change the subject or distract him.  Another thing that may help, but be very very difficult for you, is to try to understand what it must be like for your ex-boyfriend. He is likely really kicking himself that he not only lost your affections, but that you are now happily married to someone else, and that someone else is trying to play "daddy" to his own son.  Can you imagine how you would feel if there were some woman over at your ex boyfriend's trying to replace you as mom?  Maybe you can make a list of just five things that your ex is doing right, or benefiting your son with and focus on those things instead of letting the negative energy turn your life upside down.  Just thoughts........
Best, DK

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