Best Way To Avoid Quarreling between Parents

No parents can deal with all the stresses and strains of everyday life without occasional disagreements, but no child likes to witness mom and dad arguing.

Tension between you and your partner can show itself in many ways. Raised voices are not the only means to convey the fact that ill-feelings are present in the household. Many parents hold the mistaken view that if they do not actually scream at each other in front of the children, the children will have no idea there is any problem. Unfortunately, the statement “We may not get along well with each other, but at least the children don’t see that” is rarely borne out in reality.

Parents Quarreling Best Way To Avoid Quarreling between Parents

The nonverbal communication that goes on between cou­ples—the gestures, the unsaid comments, the looks on faces, the expressions in the eyes—is just as meaningful to a young child as the spoken word. Children are as sensitive to body lan­guage as they are to what is actually said.

Research has shown that young children are sensitive to specific marital tensions: tension over dissatisfaction in the sex­ual relationship, tension over one parent feeling that the other is not as considerate as he or she should be, tension arising from emotions not being expressed openly, tension about matters not being discussed openly, and tension over one spouse feeling dominated by the other. If you and your partner do have con­flicts over these or any other issues, treat them as high priorities and make an effort to resolve them as quickly as possible.

Regular quarrels between parents can have a bad effect on their child for a number of reasons:

Parents Quarreling 1 Best Way To Avoid Quarreling between Parents

  • A child needs a stable family in which to thrive. If your child feels this stability is threatened—by repeated disagreements between mom and dad—he’ll become unsettled. Loss of family security disturbs a young child.
  • Parents who fight frequently with each other are more likely to disagree about how their child should be disciplined. This con­fuses a child.
  • A child imitates his parents. If they quarrel a lot, then the child is likely to quarrel with others.
  • A child is affected by parental arguments because he wants to remain loyal to both of them, irrespective of the reasons underly­ing the arguments. Witnessing mom and dad fighting tears a child’s loyalties apart.

Disagreements are a normal part of family life. Every child has to learn to manage this. Negative emotions, such as anger, dislike, and jealousy, are experienced by everybody at one time or anoth­er. This is perfectly normal. But some parents feel that they, and their children, should always repress these negative feelings, in the hope that they will go away. Repression tends to have the oppo­site effect. Repression of such feelings injects even more tension into a relationship. A child brought up to think that only pleasant feelings are allowed free expression will eventually feel guilty every time he has an unpleasant thought. The child has to learn that there are appropriate ways to express anger and ill-feeling and that the release of negative emotions need not be destructive.

Discuss rather than conceal your feelings. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should never have arguments in front of the children. A child who sees that his parents argue, yet still love each other, will eventually understand that arguments and love are not mutually exclusive. He will learn that it is possible to be angry with a person and to love that person at the same time. An occasional parental disagreement in front of the chil­dren need not be harmful. When a child sees that arguments can have a beginning and an end, that they do not have to drag on for days and days, and that two people arguing can settle their differences, then you have achieved something positive. You can teach your child, by example, that disagreements can be resolved without any long-term damage to a relationship. This will help your child handle conflicts in his own relationships.

Parents Quarreling 2 Best Way To Avoid Quarreling between Parents

There are certain limits to this. Physical aggression, or even the threat of physical aggression, between you and your partner should never be witnessed by your child, under any circum­stances. A child will always become terrified and insecure if he sees one parent hit the other. He may become afraid to leave the house in case something dreadful happens when he is out, or he may become afraid that one day he himself will be hit.

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