Kids Notice When Parents Fight
Whether they are referred to as arguments, disagreements, or fights, they happen in every home. What is really important is how arguments are handled by parents when children are watching. Where children are concerned, many worry about the effects on kids whose parents fight. It is more important than ever to remember that kids take in far more than adults tend to realize.
My Parents Fight
Disagreements are a natural part of any relationship. The key aspect about them is how they are handled. There is a way to fight fair, and a way to let disagreements get out of hand. Although keeping anger in check is especially important around children, even when kids aren't in the picture it is still important to be respectful during a disagreement. By resorting to juvenile antics such as name calling or physical violence, the only possible outcome is lasting damage to the relationship.
Take a Time Out
The idea of "time out" is nothing new to most parents, but what may be a revelation is the idea of using time outs as adults. Though there is an old adage about not walking away angry, there is also something to be said for taking the time to cool off before discussing an issue. When emotions run high, it's easy to be oversensitive to things that are said, and to possibly misconstrue each other's words. It's easy to see how this sort of heated scenario is likely to turn a bad argument into something far worse. An easy way to avoid escalation is by each party taking a time out. Letting the issue rest and allowing emotions to cool before continuing to discuss a hot topic is often a good idea. Be careful, however, to refrain from immature actions during this time, such as the silent treatment, cheating, or venting on social networks.
Write Each Other During Arguments
Using technology to keep the fight fair, and away from children, is possible. People are often advised to write out their side of things and then exchange papers. While this can still be done, a more up to date form involves sending each other emails. There is something about seeing words in writing that causes people to think, and then rethink their choice of words. In a shorter, slightly more immediate form, text messaging can also be utilized in this way. While children may still sense that there is some additional tension in the air, they will be spared witnessing any screaming, stomping, or door slamming.
Set an Example
Minimizing the effects on kids whose parents fight can be done. Remember that a fight, and how it is resolved, sets an example. The long-lasting lesson that children take away watching parents fight is how to resolve conflict. Kids that see adults acting like overgrown kids will learn that ultimately, this is an acceptable way to behave. Kids that see their parents treating each other with respect and dignity even during a disagreement will also follow suit. Setting a positive example is one of the most important things we do as parents, and also one of the most difficult. The importance of being a role model under these circumstances is often sorely understated, and underestimated.