Children who are exposed to long term ongoing conflict between their parents can become extremely hostile and aggressive or can develop anxiety and lower self-esteem. Though it is very natural for a couple to get into a discussion or an argument, it depends on the intensity of the argument. How violent or volatile are you in such a situation and as a couple how confined can you keep your discussions?
What are the deadly effects on kids?
- Anxiety and Depression
- Suicidal thoughts
- Health Problems
- No faith in relationships
- Bad Academic Record
- Lower self-esteem
- Guilt and shame
Your child is watching your behavior and they learn by imitating rather than listening. A child as less as 6 months of age feels the negativity when such aggression takes place between parents.
Effects of Parents Fighting on Children
Home turns Hell
Children are vulnerable and also judgmental. They won’t go to the depth of your discussion with your partner but rather dead conclusions that the fight is caused due to lack of love. Your child would love to see happy parents while they come back home from school, cause no matter what Home is Heaven for everyone.
‘Happy’ is a heavy word as it carries the burden of positivity, but it is natural to get into a conflict with your partner, and your child may be witnessing it. Resolving the conflict and treating your relationship above all discussions is what we call a ‘Happy relationship’.
Your child should never avoid Home to get rid of your fighting. This naturally creates a Hell in his mind and his Home.
Reduced Cognitive Performance
Children have several works to do which include schoolwork, co-curricular activities, chores, part-time jobs, and many more. They won’t be able to concentrate on anything due to the turmoil that goes on at home. This makes them underperform in all the important tasks that surrounds them. This anxiety haunts children even when grow up to be adults.
Developing Health Problems
Children are sensitive and vulnerable to situations. When parents are busy with their conflict, they hardly pay attention to the needs of their children. Children stop eating and stress out due to growing disturbances at home. They might not complete the 8 hours of minimum sleep. This may lead to physical illness and emotional disorders.
Parents become the wrong idol
Children are the best observers and imitators. From a very young age, they learn from what they see around. They live with the notion of having the best human beings as their parents. Though you don’t have to go out of your way to prove you are larger than life image, you can maintain your image as an idol to your kid.
If your child frequently witnesses you and your partner disrespecting each other, they will end up losing interest in the value of a good relationship. They might also get agitated and violent following your footsteps. Don’t let them create this wrong idol in their mind.
Fear of substance abuse
Older children and teenagers cannot share their feelings and when they keep all the negativity within, they tend to find refuge in drugs, alcohol, and the wrong company. These deprecating habits are adopted to get away from the daily disturbances of life.
When these children feel suffocated at home due to disturbances between parents, they look for ways to escape and adopt the wrong path which ruins their entire life and livelihood.
Guilt, Shame, and Stress
Children often blame themselves for the trouble between their parents. Of there is a conflict between the two partners regarding the custody of the child, then again the child suffers from guilt.
It is very difficult for a child to answer questions about the separation of their parents. They go through shame in witnessing such a scenario. When parents fight, a child is mentally stressed as he does not know who could he possibly align on.
Your child will witness the worst scenario to watch his parents getting into a verbal and physical battle which will tear him to pieces. He will develop a fear to lose both of you or either one of you. They develop overprotection towards siblings in fear of losing them as well.
This is more evident in cases of an older sibling trying to have his control over a younger one through various means to have him by his side always.
It is very natural for a couple to fight, discuss, argue, and get into a conflict due to the myriad opinions and pressure of responsibility. New parents especially fight a lot as they are adjusting to the new role of parenthood.
Parents are made of blood and flesh, so they prove it often. But what are the ways to fight without leaving a negative impact on children? Let’s look for a solution to not have negative repercussions on your children.
Things to avoid
When you are arguing with your partner, never end up with name-calling, abusing with harsh words and filthy language, physical violence, walking out, and withdrawing. These are very well observed by your child. Always end your argument with a note that brings the difference in opinions but respecting each other.
Discuss the Fight
You can casually speak to your children about the argument you had with your partner the other day. You can specify differences and discussions, but also admit that it was wrong for the two of you to behave that way.
Apologize with your children for your bad behavior as it teaches them the value of admitting their mistakes in the future. The right way will help you to build self-esteem in kids.
Never talk ill about your partner
You may have had a nasty argument with your partner but you cannot put your child in between and ask him to choose the good one out. Don’t ever speak badly about your partner as it will create doubt and a feeling of insecurity in your child.
Avoid fighting in front of your child
Keep your discussions confined to your bedroom like your private life. Your child does not have to deal with trauma due to your temperaments which may be temporary for you but a mental threat for your child.
Children draw conclusions that their parents hate each other and again, hate is a heavy word, let the word not burden your child. Avoid having discussions when your child is around. This is also the secret to raising well-behaved kids.
You should have discussions and arguments while your child is watching and resolve it with a happy note. This teaches them the skills of problem-solving and also a message that discussions also lead to solutions.
Don’t avoid the conflict
Walking away and avoiding the situation when your child is watching, gives a wrong message. It will damage your relationship with your partner and also the child. If your child has witnessed an argument, let him watch it getting resolved. Walking away is a temporary solution to a long term problem.
Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs) about Effects of Parenting Fights on Children
1. How to control a conflict that could burst into an outrage?
Count to 10 and breathe, move to a silent place and relax, ponder over your thoughts, go to your room and hit a pillow. When you have calmed down, speak out your problem.
2. How to correct my partner when he is adopting an unacceptable parenting method?
Don’t point the mistake while your child is watching. Don’t shout, panic, or physically abuse as it will ignite the conflict. Speak to your partner separately about sorting out the problem by discussing it together.
3. What kind of argument is disheartening for the child and created fear and insecurity?
When you or your partner threat to part ways and disrespect each other then the child develops fear and loneliness.
4. What are the three red flags to show that your arguments are affecting the child?
The child is scared to see their parents yelling at each other, the child goes anti-social and stays always from peers and the child’s performance at school degrades to a poor level.
The relationship between parents is one of the strongest influences on children’s long term health mental health, well being, and future life chances. You can have arguments but always carry it out with endearment and with a note to negotiate and not scorch it further.
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Mother of Two children. I’m a former teacher with a background in child development and a passion for Good parenting. I understand child development and know how to develop activities to help children learn and grow. Spare time, I enjoy spending time with my family, reading, and volunteering in my community.