The contentious relationship between Ciara and her ex-fiancé Future reached a new level recently after the Goodies singer threw a little shade at him during the Billboard Music Awards. While Ciara has kept it cute and has mostly kept their beef private, she skipped over his name as she was announcing the nominees for top rap artist, and set the ‘net ablaze.

Though the shady moment was pretty minor, the pair are engaged in dueling lawsuits with millions of dollars at stake. In her initial filing, Ciara accused her former flame of slander and defamation, as well as not paying child support. In turn, Future has hit her with a countersuit that basically said her career was in jeopardy before he started blasting her in interviews. The pair have also clashed over Ciara’s new fiancé, Russell Wilson, and his relationship with her son, Baby Future.

With this in mind, writer Yolanda Young decided to pen an open letter to Ciara giving her, and other women, a little advice–don’t diss your kid’s dad.

I wish I could tell you the lawsuits and countersuits you and Future have filed demanding the other stop making derogatory remarks will solve your problem, but it is impossible to resolve personal strife in public.

What you must do is remember what the two of you shared in private. Recall your child’s father at his most vulnerable, and I’ll bet it won’t be long before you realize that the mean and hurtful things he’s done to you aren’t the result of his being intrinsically evil but rather his being badly broken.

Though Young admits she doesn’t have children, she says her stance on co-parenting is based on her own parents. Her father, who was abusive and tried to kill her mother, wasn’t a constant presence in her life. Still, while he inflicted pain on her mother, Young says her mother never badmouthed her dad.

She endured years of abuse, verbal assaults but also the occasional slap, choke, and blackeye. She finally divorced him after his bullets came within centimeters of ending her life. At my dad’s trial, she asked the judge not to sentence him to jail. This would be the first of many decisions she’d make thinking more of me than of herself.

Another one was to shield me from any resentment she harbored towards my father. Knowing that I was safe with my dad — he never raised his voice to me, let alone his hand — she not only insisted I have a relationship with him, she made it a point of being kind and gracious towards him.

Even though his calls were sporadic, his visits rare, and his child support payments nonexistent, she didn’t disparage him. Occasionally he’d show up in a fancy car and fur coat (undoubtedly the spoils of a particularly good run at the casino or racetrack) lavishing me with impractical gifts and taking mom and me to dinner. The only time she ever showed the slightest irritation was when for my high school graduation he bought me two pieces of Louis Vuitton luggage from San Francisco’s I-Magnin at a price that would have covered my first semester’s college tuition. Even then, rather than hold him to her fiscal prudence, she accepted his gesture as a show of love.

Young’s mother’s level of forgiveness seems extreme (I mean, the man tried to kill her), but advising women to be gracious and forgiving and mature while not asking the same of the other parent is both unfair and unrealistic.

Perhaps I would have taken this open letter more seriously had Young cautioned Future against publicly calling Ciara a bitch or slamming her over basic things like child support (which he’s done before), but she didn’t. Instead, Young placed the responsibility on Ciara, who has mostly stayed above the fray, despite Future’s tantrums.

Co-parenting with an ex can be hard, but advising one parent to just sit back and take the abuse and negativity of another just to keep the peace isn’t the best strategy either.

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