Tom Brady and Bridget Moynahan, parents to son Jack, are a public example of getting co-parenting right. (Photo: Corbis Images/Getty Images)
Tom Brady isn’t the only one celebrating the end of Deflategate this week – his ex Bridget Moynahan, mother to their 8-year-old son Jack, is also excited about the New England Patriot quarterback’s victory.
On Thursday, a federal judge overturned Brady’s four-game suspension, a ruling that had plenty of football fans talking. Moynahan jumped into the conversation in the morning, tweeting, “Yippee! I can go back to private texts and enjoying the game congrats #TB and @Patriots #letsmoveon.” The reference to texts was a nod to the fact that Brady’s private text messages and emails, including some exchanges with Moynahan, were scrutinized during the scandal.
This show of support is just the latest from Moynahan, who has publicly celebrated Brady’s other achievements, including the team’s fourth Super Bowl win this year, tweeting, “Congratulations to the @Patriots! Sweet #4.” And in one of the emails between the former couple, which was released to the public earlier this year, they share a moment of adoration for their son Jack. In the exchange, Moynahan wrote: “Isn’t it cool that jack got a reading award!? he gets to wear a reading star pin now too. so proud.” Brady, who has two other children with wife Gisele Bundchen, responded: “He is such a smart boy. And he is a hard worker. I’m so proud of him.”
Moynahan’s latest tweet is another example of how she and Brady get co-parenting right. “We know that the number one factor that influences how children respond to separation or divorce is the amount of conflict between the co-parents,” Paulette Janus, a social worker who provides therapy, family mediation and co-parent coaching, tells Yahoo Parenting. “When co-parents have a positive relationship, their kids feel loved by each parent, and they don’t worry that they have to choose between them. They feel like mom and dad are still their family even though they may not be married, and so they are allowed to just be kids who happened to have a two-household system.”
Talking negatively about an ex in front of a child can have long-lasting effects, Janus says. “A child is made up of components of mom and dad, so their identity can be negatively impacted if they feel like their parents are attacking each other,” she says. “For example, if mom says ‘I cant stand how you don’t pick up after yourself, you’re just like your dad,’ that kind of behavior will hurt your child.”
And it’s not enough just to refrain from making negative remarks — parents need to be aware of their nonverbal cues, too. “About 60 percent of our communication is nonverbal, like avoiding eye contact, eye rolling, crossing arms. Even not talking is a form of conflict, and kids will pick up on that,” Janus says. “In fact, they will pick up on the nonverbal interactions even more than the verbal.” So the fact that Brady and Moynahan have such friendly interactions, even in private emails that Jack might not be privy to, will have a positive effect on their son. “Your parents are your family, and even if they are not together, you want to feel like you’re all on the same team,” Janus explains.
Cultivating a conflict-free relationship can be difficult for anyone, especially for exes. Janus says co-parents should build a support system with a professional counselor or coach, who they can check in with at least once a year. “That way you can deal with issues of scheduling and other logistics of parenting together,” she says. “And when problems do arise, you’ll have someone who can facilitate a discussion so they don’t escalate into a bigger conflict.”
For now, Moynahan, Brady and their son Jack will join the legions of Pats fans looking forward to the upcoming season, together.