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Keeping Your Child Out of the Middle

September 6, 2012

image David Castillo Dominici /

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 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 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 what ever 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.

Susan Schwartz is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker practicing in Torrance, California for the past twenty-three years. She received her Masters of Social Work from UCLA in 1982 and subsequently completed a three-year post-graduate fellowship in family therapy. During her years in practice, Ms. Schwartz has assisted families before, during and after divorce papers have been finalized. Seeing how children get caught in the crossfire and trying to help them through that challenging situation has always been of particular interest to her. When she learned about Collaborative Divorce, she saw it as a new and exciting way to make a difference in people’s lives. For the last ten years, Ms Schwartz has been a proud member of A Better Divorce, A Group of Collaborative Professionals.  Ms.Schwartz is a contributor to the Huffington Post Divorce.


One Comment leave one →
  1. September 10, 2012 8:08 am

    Excellent tips for helping children.

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