It is very important to respond to another coParent’s difficult or high conflict behavior with moderate behaviors instead.

In other words, you must be careful not to mirror their extreme behavior. Instead, be aware of this temptation and use all of your own skills to think rationally and respond moderately. This does not mean that their extreme behavior should be tolerated. Quite the opposite. Their extreme behavior needs to be restrained or stopped, since they can’t stop themselves. However, personal attacks won’t stop it – that will escalate it (or at least not reduce it). And ignoring it won’t stop it.

Sign up for our newsletter today and get exclusive coParenting content.

Only a moderate, assertive response generally works – a response that doesn’t personally attack them and redirects them toward positive future behavior, which may include some appropriate and immediate consequences. The focus is on new behavior, rather than negative feedback.

Remember, if bad behavior can get mirrored, good behavior can also. Once you’re aware of that, you can influence people to calm down and respond more positively by responding positively yourself.

To learn more about responding to a difficult coParent, visit another article by Eddy here.


About Bill Eddy, LCSW, Esq

Bill Eddy is a lawyer, therapist, mediator and the President of High Conflict Institute. He developed the "High Conflict Personality" theory (HCP Theory) and has become an international expert on managing disputes involving high conflict personalities and personality disorders. He provides training on this subject to lawyers, judges, mediators, managers, human resource professionals, businesspersons, healthcare administrators, college administrators, homeowners’ association managers, ombudspersons, law enforcement, therapists and others. He has been a speaker and trainer in over 25 states, several provinces in Canada, Australia, France and Sweden.

As an attorney, Bill is a Certified Family Law Specialist in California and the Senior Family Mediator at the National Conflict Resolution Center in San Diego. Prior to becoming an attorney in 1992, he was a Licensed Clinical Social worker with twelve years’ experience providing therapy to children, adults, couples and families in psychiatric hospitals and outpatient clinics. He has taught Negotiation and Mediation at the University of San Diego School of Law for six years and he is on the part-time faculty of the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at the Pepperdine University School of Law and the National Judicial College.

He is the author of numerous articles and several books.

Areas of Expertise: Mediation, Family Law, Workplace, Judicial Officers, Court Systems, Governmental Entities, Mental Health Professionals, New Ways for Families.

To view his book, “BIFF: Quick Responses to High-Conflict People,” visit this link:

To view his book, “Don’t Alienate the Kids!” Visit this site: