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As a parent I understand the longing to intervene when my husband is disciplining our kids. I often want to change some of his words, or help my kids better react to what he’s saying. I want to explain things more clearly.

Likewise, as a wife I understand the temptation to involve my kids when I’m not getting along with my husband. I get irritated sometimes, and I’d love nothing more than to tell my kids about it so they can be on my side.

As you well know, in both cases I’d be wrong. I would create a triangle out of a situation that should be between only two people. This diffuses the anxiety in the situation, which is a relief. But, it also creates unhealthy patterns of not allowing a person to work through hard things in a relationship without a mediator.

If you want to have a more solid relationship with your family members, stop triangulating! At first the tension will feel worse. Ride out the storm because eventually the dynamics in your household will be healthier.

Disclaimer: This obviously excludes situations where things become abusive. In those cases stepping in to protect the victim is always advisable, whether that is you speaking up, or you calling the police if there is violence.

Helping teens grow and families improve connection,
Lauren Goodman, MS, MFT