Parents might think that they are being good at hiding their conflicts and arguments, but children may still hear or see them without their knowledge. The ability of kids to understand what is happening is always underestimated. Research proves that children do notice arguments and changes in behavior. Just because you don’t have screaming matches doesn’t mean that kids would have no clue. There are other forms of fighting the children pick up on.
- talking negatively behind each other’s back
- being physically aggressive
- silent treatment or short, curt replies
- unfriendly or sarcastic tones
Disagreements might be normal in any relationship, but remember to never fight in front of the kids. Take some time to cool off if an argument is getting heated and always communicate issues well. More importantly, make it clear that the kids are not the reason for the fighting.
Negative Impacts on Children
Even if the parents have assured their kids that they did nothing wrong, seeing the fight has already made its effect. Fighting does not only affect the adults involved but the children, too.
- Aggressive behavior
Seeing parents fight is emotionally tiring and distressing for children. Because they are seeing trusted adults deal with problems through screaming matches, they will begin to believe that this is the right way to solve problems. Eventually, kids will start to show aggressive behavior to their classmates, teachers, friends, and family members.
- Emotional distress
Kids are very perceptive and smart, and it hurts them to see that the two people they love most in the world are fighting. They will feel many negative emotions, including anxiety and depression. Children might feel that they are to blame even without reason to believe so, and they will always feel on edge around people.
- Trouble dealing with emotions
It’s never good to fight with kids present because they might have a difficult time processing their emotions. Later in life, they might exhibit the behavior they’ve seen in their parents and apply it to protect themselves from getting hurt. They may have a harder time communicating how they feel and fear to establish social relationships in the future.
- Disrupted cognitive performance
A study proves that a child’s cognitive performance is affected by marital issues. They might not care enough about their studies anymore and stop exerting effort into anything.
Children tend only to be concerned about doing things that will distract them from thinking about the issue. Having difficulty concentrating on anything else affects their ability to solve problems.
Signs That Kids Are Being Affected
Parents always think they are hiding their hostility well enough because kids are too young to understand. However, children are good at picking up nonverbal cues or passive-aggressive behavior. Several signs can indicate that a child is affected by the parents’ fighting.
- looking scared when a parent raises their voice
- asking parents whether they still love their spouse and/or their kids
- verbally saying that they want the parents to stop fighting
- apologizing for everything or more than they usually have before
It’s better to avoid fighting’s negative impacts on kids altogether. Rather than cause them trauma and explain later how they are not the problem, learn to fight fair.
How to Avoid Fighting’s Effects on Children
As adults, you must be capable of exhibiting excellent problem-solving and communication skills. More importantly, as parents, you should know that disagreements should never involve the kids as spectators. Set some ground rules to protect the children’s wellbeing.
- Raise the argument, not the voice.
- Take time to listen to eat other’s points of view.
- Consider saving the fight for a time when the kids are not inside the house.
- Discuss how important the issue at hand really is.
- Be constructive instead of just voicing out complaints.
Sometimes, it helps to imagine the conflict on a 5-year scale. Is it a petty fight that will be forgotten in months, or is it something significant that the future might be hinging on it? Put the fight into perspective. No matter what the problem is, it’s never worth to put your kids through distressing moments.
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For issues or questions about family law, it would be ideal to speak with a family lawyer in Lansing. The Clark Law Office can most definitely assist you.
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