Keeping Johnny out of the Middle

By Susan F Schwartz, L.C.S.W.

Avoid fighting when children are around

Practice Anger Management

  • Walk away when either party angry
  • Do deep breathing and positive self-talk to calm down
  • Allow partner to have the last word if necessary, just walk away!
  • Recognize people are not thinking clearly when angry and are saying things they don’t   really mean
  • Wait for calmness and only then return to the issue
  • Don’t confide in children

Be aware of the whereabouts of your children-don’t talk about issues they shouldn’t hear when they’re around.

Don’t bad mouth your spouse/ex to children, and coach family and friends not to talk poorly of him/her as well.

Always recognize, your spouse is the other parent of your children and deserves some respect if only for that reason.

Never let children be the carrier of your messages, and let the child know you will discuss the matter with the other parent if you are approached with a message from your child.  Don’t use this as an excuse to put your partner down in front of the child for sending the message.

Try to use the fact that no matter what is going on between you and your partner, your children need both of you and they need both of you to get along.

If divorced or divorcing, do whatever you can to maintain a respectful relationship with your children’s other parent.

Even if your ex is not playing fairly, don’t bite the bait and play dirty as well—Exercise restraint in not increasing tension.

Never give children details about what has happened between you and spouse.  They deserve to have a relationship with both of you and need to know they will be taken care of no matter what;   let them know they are loved by both parents and will always have access to both.


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