It is not easy to share the time that you have with your child or try to make decisions regarding your child with someone to whom you are no longer committed to romantically. In some cases, these stressful situations push parents to respond in unwise and regrettable ways.

Often, people act out to upset the other parent or make things more difficult for him or her. They want to punish the other parent or hurt them. However, if you feel tempted to engage in these types of behaviors, stop and think who you really could be hurting the most: yourself and your child.

How bad behaviors can backfire

Antagonizing your ex, frequently changing exchange terms and talking poorly about your ex in front of your child can make life more difficult for the other parent. Unfortunately, these and similar actions could ultimately hurt you more than anyone else.

Such behaviors can be grounds for legal action, like a court holding you in contempt for violating a custody order. They could also cost you valuable time with your child when you spend so much of it focusing on the other parent.

Further, harassing or taunting behaviors could give your ex reason to seek legal remedies like protective orders or custody modifications.

How they can affect your child

From a very young age, children are affected by parental discourse and actions. Their understanding only grows as they get older.

Therefore, hurtful actions and statements by parents can affect a child much more than you realize. Children may develop distrust for parents, side with the parent who is getting bullied or become so frustrated by the fighting that they decide they do not want to talk or spend time with you. Some children emulate the bad behavior they see, leading to mental health issues and behavioral problems.

Taking the high road

Because bad behaviors can hurt you and your child more than your ex, it is crucial to think twice before engaging in them. Focus on taking the high road and your relationship with your child.

If you have legitimate concerns about your ex or your rights as a parent, pursuing legal avenues to address them properly can allow you to pursue effective solutions.