Children in the Middle

An Evidence-Based Practice


Children in the Middle (CIM) is an educational intervention for divorcing families that aims to reduce the parental conflict, loyalty pressures, and communication problems that can place significant stress on children. CIM consists of one to two 90- to 120-minute classroom sessions and can be tailored to meet specific needs. The intervention teaches specific parenting skills, particularly good communication skills, to reduce the familial conflict experienced by children. Each parent attending classes typically receives two CIM booklets (What About the Children and Children in the Middle) that give advice for reducing the stress of divorce/separation on children and promote practice of the skills taught in the course. Each parent also watches the CIM video, which illustrates how children often feel caught in the middle of their parents' conflicts.

Goal / Mission

The goal of this program is to reduce the negative impacts of divorce and separation on children.

Results / Accomplishments

Since 1992, this intervention or an adaptation of this intervention has been implemented in approximately 800 sites with about 2 million parents. As of August 2006 this intervention or an adaptation of this intervention has been evaluated in five published studies. Results include the following:

In terms of parental conflict, parents who participated in the program reported putting their children in the middle of conflict less often than parents in the comparison and control groups combined. Children of parents in the CIM group said they felt caught in the middle less often compared to children of parents in the comparison and control groups combined, and reported less stress in general. Parents who took the CIM course also reported more awareness of their children's feelings, and had better communication with their children.

About this Promising Practice

Primary Contact
Donald A. Gordon, Ph.D.
Center for Divorce Education
1005 E. State Street, Suite G
Athens, Ohio 45701
(740) 594-2526
Health / Children's Health
Health / Mental Health & Mental Disorders
Social Environment / Children's Social Environment
Ohio University
SAMHSA's National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices (NREPP)
Date of publication
Aug 2006
Date of implementation
Athens, OH
For more details
Target Audience