Saturday, 11 June 2016

How Fighting Before Your Children Hurt Them

Take steps to reduce the tension in your home.
It is very important that as a parent you make every effort to protect your children from parental fights and disagreements as this could have a negative impact on children. While there will be conflicts in relationships, try to use positive conflict resolution strategies in your interactions.

A good place to start is to take steps to minimize the number of fights between you and your spouse in the home to reduce the harmful effect on children. Here are some ways fighting in front of your children could negatively affect them.

High Stress Levels
A study funded by the National Institutes of Health, indicates that parental arguments affect children's stress responses, and this could result in their lagging behind their peers in problem-solving. For example, stress affects children's ability to cope with the regular activities of life including schooling and effectively meeting developmental tasks such as identity issues during adolescence.

Instability and Insecurity
In cases where there are many parental disagreements in families, this could lead to insecurity in the children. When there is a high degree of instability in the family environment children are likely to be uncertain about a number of important issues that could affect them presently and in the future. This makes could make your children insecure and display less self-efficacy to achieve goals.

Low Self-Esteem

When there is little or no harmony in the home, this could contribute to low self-esteem in your children. Children need to grow up in a nurturing environment where their parents model respectful behaviors in their interactions. When this is not so, your children lack the emotional support they need. It is likely then that their sense of belonging is eroded. This could affect not only how they see themselves, but also their relationships with others.

Self-Blame and Guilt

Children who face parental fights on a regular basis are likely to blame themselves for what is happening between their parents. This is especially so when parents make no effort to calm the fears of their children. These feelings of self-blame and guilt could extend to other relationships including peer relationships. Even more, what your children see as lack of trust between you and your spouse,  is likely to affect their own ability to trust others, and hinder their development as responsible children

Weak Conflict Resolution Skills

Open, heated, and bitter arguments and fights between parents could affect children's social development. They do not get to see that, while you don't always agree, even in disagreement you display respect for each other. Thus children's conflict resolution and problem solving skills might not get a chance to develop properly.

Your children could miss important opportunities to learn that while people don't always see things the same way, they can still find common ground. When you are constantly fighting, this is lost opportunity to help children learn to resolve their differences in a manner that exhibits tolerance for each other.

The YouTube video depicts the deep pain a child experiences in the midst of parental fighting. Don't fight before your children. One suggestion is that you remove overly heated disagreement between you and your spouse from the children’s presence. For example, the moment there is indication that the conflict is going to spiral, take steps to delay the discussion to more convenient time.

Find ways to deal with your conflicts in more creative ways. this might mean that you and your spouse might need to see a professional counselor.  Through the counseling process, you and your spouse could gain insights into the underlying causes of the conflicts, and learn strategies to deal effectively with them for greater marital satisfaction. 

Image courtesy of  David Castillo Dominici at

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