There Is A Fine Line Between Curiosity And Invasion Of Privacy
It is easy to pepper your kids with questions about your ex when they come for visits. He or she is one of the things you have in common, and it's only natural to be curious about his or her life. However, there are things you shouldn't broach when you talk to your kids, because you can cause them a lot of damage and confusion.
First of all, if you hate your ex, your kids don't need to hear why. They already know you don't get along with their other parent. After all, you don't live with them anymore, and if you and their other parent got along, you would still be sharing space.
Don't discuss child support. Your kids don't know if you are paying too much. They can't do anything about the fact that the payments barely leave you enough to survive. They don't know what their mother spends the money on, nor should they. If you express your distaste for making the payments to them, you are only embarrassing them about a situation they did not create, and can't do anything about.
There are safe topics you can mention regarding the other parent. It isn't intrusive to ask about their health, and if they had a good time on their vacation. However, don't expect your kids to report on your ex's love life. Even if they know she is sleeping with a new man, or he just started dating the next door neighbor, pummeling your kids with questions is unfair. At best, they are betraying their other parent, and you are encouraging them to do it. At very least, you'll probably get inaccurate information.
Kids want to love both of you. It is hard for them to do it when they realize it is obvious each of you wants to hurt the other. They are defenseless against attempts to trick information out of them. Even if they know they are betraying the other parent's confidence by spilling information, they will do it because they are afraid of losing your approval. That is a very unpleasant position to be in, and eventually they will understand what you're doing and lose respect for you. Do them a big favor. Keep your questions to topics like school and activities and let your kids be kids while they can. They may not appreciate your tolerance of your ex now, but when they grow up, they will be grateful. After all, they don't make the rules, but do know whether or not they are fair.