Topic Progress:

As you learned in previous sessions, if you struggle with couple conflict and parenting issues, you will often experience a number of negative thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, all of which lead to a negative environment for you and your family. All of these begin with conflict-provoking situations, or triggers, such as after-school homework time for the kids, a house chore that was mistakenly overlooked, or a heated argument between you and your partner over discipline for your children. These triggers may be related to your children, related to your relationship, or related to other matters such as dealing with your in-laws.

Once a triggering situation occurs, you and your partner then begin engaging a negative cycle that continues to maintain or worsen your family conflict, creating a tense environment in the household for you both as well as your children. The typical cycle that leads to couple conflict having a negative effect on parenting involves the following:

Cognitive Sequence


The following activity plan will help you combine what you learned in previous sessions and help break this negative cycle. Use this information to complete the following worksheet, which is an activity plan to address the conflict-provoking situations that may occur for you and your partner over the next couple of weeks. Complete separate worksheets for at least 2-3 different situations that you may encounter by making copies of the worksheet provided. Complete the left-hand column first, and then think about ways to handle the situation differently. After you’ve encountered the situation, complete the right-hand column.

Download and print worksheet here: Breaking the Cognitive Cycle

Next, we will do a retrospective review of how your new functional thoughts, emotions, and behaviors worked out in actual situations that you found challenging to deal with before.


Open Forest