When going through a divorce filled with chronic conflict, how do we manage our emotions and control our behaviors in ways that ensure our children endure as little pain as possible?

Start with the end goal in mind: not a month or a year from now, but many years from now. To help you align your actions with your personal values and long-term goals, visualize the ideal coParenting relationship and how it would look three, five, or ten years down the road.

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Then document this vision in writing. Save your writing somewhere you can easily access for future reference. It is, in essence, your vision statement. When your coParent does something that angers you (or you’re feeling frustrated), before you react, re-read your vision statement.

As you contemplate how to respond, ask yourself how that would align with your personal values and long-term goals.


About Mark Baer & Jeremy Kossen

Mark BaerMark Baer is a lawyer, mediator and conflict resolution consultant. He has decades of experience in family law and has crafted a reputation within the industry for his psychologically-minded and child-centered approach.

Mark is also a well-known writer and columnist for a number of publications on the interplay between psychology and conflict resolution within the field of family law, as well as familial and interpersonal relationships in general. He has had a regular “Psychology and Family Law” column in the San Gabriel Valley Psychological Association’s award-winning bimonthly newsletter since 2008. A member of Psychology Today’s expert community, Mark also has a blog column titled “Empathy and Relationships: Fostering Genuine Open-Mindedness.” He is also a HuffPost Blogger and a number of those blog articles have been referenced in books, law review articles, by evidence-based public policy think tanks, and elsewhere. Mark has written extensively for a number of other publications, as well. His material has been used and shared by law school professors, and by some of the highest ranked dispute resolution organizations in the country, such as the Straus Institute of Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine University School of Law and the Harvard Negotiation & Mediation Clinical Program at Harvard Law School.

He has also presented on several occasions at the California Psychological Association Convention, the American Bar Association Section of Family Law CLE Conference, and the Southern California Mediation Association Conference, among other such organizations.