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Never Say A Negative Word About Your Ex: Your Child Will Believe You

My mom and Uncle Brian watched JD today because I was on-site at a freelance job. My mom texted me that she was in the courtyard looking for JD’s swim shirt, because it must have blew off the balcony, where she hung it to dry. “I can’t find it down here,” she texted. I wrote back. “It was seven bucks—it’s OK.” Then I texted my best friend and JD’s godmother, Katie, who lives directly below us: “Hey, is JD’s blue swim shirt on your balcony.” She texted back: “Yeah.” When I got home it was hanging on my French door knob.

I walked in and JD was so excited to see it because, “I was looking for this all day, Mom!” he said (they looked for it for 10 minutes). “Where did you find it?” he asked.

“You’ll never, ever believe it! A little bird named Inga flew on our balcony, grabbed it and brought it to my office,” I said.

JD looked at me in pure amazement.

“What color was the bird?” he asked. "Blue?"

“She was white and had a pink bow in her hair and red sneakers on, too,” I said uncrossing my purse from my body.

“Red sneakers!” he said. "Whoa, really cool!"

“Yes,” I said. “And she said she wanted to play a trick on you! What a silly-willy birdie!”

He asked me 20 questions about Inga over dinner. After I read him a book and tucked him in he asked where Inga lived. “A nest, with her mom,” I said.

What is the point of this blog? Well, for one, I’m a creative person and I always make up stories to tell JD and he even does it now, too, which I think is rad. He came home from school the other day and told me he used his “im-ma-nation” (imagination) and drew a fish named Wilbert. “He has one eye only and swims faster than the turtles in the ocean.”

The other point of this blog is an fyi to single parents. Don’t say anything negative about your ex, as in your child’s other parent. I don’t care if he left you when you were 11-weeks-pregnant (Hi!) or cheated on you with your sister. Every, single thing you tell your child, especially at age 4, your child will believe as the golden truth -- the only truth. Take it in, people. Read: Single Parent Advice

I mean, a birdie name Inga flew JD’s swim shirt to me. He totally believed me. He doesn’t doubt this. I am his everything. I am his truth. I am his right and wrong. I am his mom. And I make up stories about birds and we decide clouds look like hot dogs that angels sell as a part-time jobber.

Keep it clean. When your child asks about his absent parent, answer truthfully and simple—then change the subject. My son knows his dad lives in Indiana and that some kids live with just their mom. As he gets older, the story will evolve, but never into anything negative. JD can make his own mind up. And one day, when he's a grown man with kids of his own, I'll tell him a few things, still nothing bad, just stuff he'll be able to digest.

When your child asks about his absent parent, what do you say?

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