Childhood is full of innocence. But with this said, many parents argue in front of their children without thinking about the effect that it has on them. While occasional disagreements, teach kids that marriage isn’t perfect, constant fighting can be quite a traumatic experience. The psychological trauma that they endure when their parents have regular drawn out fights leaves a lasting impression. Consider the following steps to minimize the number of fights that you and your spouse have in front of your children.
- Take a second to step back and collect your thoughts
It is very easy to let a silly argument escalate. One minute you were talking about who would drive the kids to school and the next thing you know, you’re shouting about who has more responsibility at home. If you’re fighting about a trivial issue, most likely you should apologize, drop it, and move on. If you’re fighting about a more serious matter, stop yelling and have a proper discussion without shouting or making inaccurate generalizations (i.e. “you never help out around the house”).
- Don’t be afraid to express your feelings
Leaving negative feelings to fester can have a more harmful effect on your child, than an actual argument. It is unrealistic to expect people in any relationship to be in agreement all the time. However, when you don’t say how you feel, kids may be confused, leaving their imaginations to run wild. Model the type behavior that you would like your kids to exhibit. Avoid using insulting terms and physical aggression, and say how you’re feeling.
- Use the opportunity to teach a lesson
Disagreements are a natural part of life. Kids need to learn that having disputes doesn’t mean that you have to end relationships. Explain to your children that you and your spouse fight sometimes but that you always love each other and will work things out.
Dorothy Hastings is the Director of First School, which are three Preschool and child care centers located throughout Southern California. First School provides a hands-on approach to preschool education and child care programs that emphasizes all around child development. In addition to their intuitive academic approach, First School also focuses on developing a child’s social skills and self-confidence, which is made possible in their intimate learning atmosphere.