How Fighting With Your Partner Affects Children

Written by MomJunction • 

Disagreements and quarrels are imminent in any relationship. We could say they are a little more between partners, maybe because the relationship is between two equals, who could be different from each other, unlike in a parent-child relationship where one is much older than the other.

It is natural to lose your cool and yell at your partner, sometimes even for petty issues such as leaving the toilet unflushed. But after you have kids, you need to be careful in these matters as well, lest it may pollute the environment at home, leaving your children helpless. MomJunction attempts to list out the long-term as well as the immediate effects a fight could have on the tender minds of your kids. Read on.

How Fighting In Front Of Your Children Affects Them:

Here are a few ways in which your children can get affected if you fight in front of them:

1. Adverse Effect On Your Child’s Mental Health:

  • When your children see you fighting violently or on a regular basis, it can have a long-term, damaging effect on their overall mental health.
  • There is a host of mental issues that could crop up in your children as a result of such conflicts. Some of the most common health issues could be severe anxiety, depression, feelings of guilt, poor self-esteem, difficulty in concentration and coping up with academics, fear, insomnia and so on.

[ Read: Negative And Positive Parenting ]

2. Guilty About Having To Take Sides:

  • When you fight in front of your children, one of the biggest problems that they may face is the need to take sides.
  • Your children will want to love and be with both you and your partner, but when they see you fighting constantly, it may create a feeling of confusion and chaos in their minds. As a result, your children will not be able to make up their mind about who is right and who is wrong.
  • When faced with such a situation, your children may feel guilty that they are taking the side of one parent and letting down the expectations of the other.
  • It can often create stress in your children and result in them getting alienated to either you or your partner.

3. A Feeling Of Being Unsafe:

  • For your children, the home is the safest and most comforting place that they know. However, with constant fights with your partner, you ruin their feeling of safety and peace at home.
  • You may not be violent or physically destructive, but your fighting could cause a lot of anxiety in your children. They may feel unsafe in a place, which was until then their home. It could create a lot of stress and confusion in them.
  • When your children see you fight all the time, they may also worry that one of the parents would harm the other, or maybe harm the children.
  • The constant fear can have devastating effects on your children’s psyche. They could also worry that your frequent fights might lead to separation, breaking up the family set-up.

4. Problems In Parent And Child Relationship:

  • If your children are anxious about the unpleasant environment that gets created as a result of your constant fights, it will affect the relationship they share with you.
  • For your children, you are a role model. Seeing their role models fight could shatter their image of you.
  • When your children are uncomfortable and do not feel happy or safe, it can be difficult for them to have a comfortable and honest relationship with you. Seeing you fight, they might feel that you would show the same anger and aggression towards them. As a result, they may not want to share their honest feelings with you.

[ Read: Best Parenting Tips ]

Immediate Effects Of Parents’ Fights On Children:

Here are some of the most direct effects that your fighting can have on your children:

  • Feeling scared and helpless
  • Becoming clingy and cranky
  • Feeling insecure and having low self-esteem
  • Feeling guilty and ashamed
  • Depressed and anxious
  • Being violent with other children
  • Social alienation and disinterest in meeting people
  • Bed wetting and being quiet

How To Fight In Front Of Your Children:

With stressful lifestyles and the constant demands of parenting, it is but natural that you may sometimes lose your cool and end up fighting in front of your children. While it should not be a habit, there are certain ways in which you can reduce the damage you do to your children. Here are a few things you should keep in mind when you are in a conflicting situation with your partner:

1. Do Not Jump In To A Fight:

When your partner is already worked up about something, try and avoid getting into a fight. Even if you try to discuss something at this stage, it may only result in shouting and yelling, instead of a normal talk. Let your partner cool down before you discuss the matter with him.

2. Discuss The Problem:

Instead of letting the situation take control, discuss the issues with your partner before the matter snowballs into a fight.

[ Read: Tips To Strengthen Parent Child Bonding ]

3. Hear Each Other’s Point Of View:

Respect each other’s point of view and try to understand what your partner has to say. You may not agree, but you can still try to listen.

4. Find A Middle Path:

If you cannot reach a clear decision, try to find a solution that will work best for both of you.

5. Seek Help:

Sometimes, when you have tried everything but nothing worked, the best way to deal with the issue is to take outside help. You may seek the help of your parents or family, or go for professional or marriage counselling.

It is necessary for you to keep your emotions under control and find the best way to discuss them with your partner.

How do you resolve a conflict with your partner when your children are around? Share your tips here to come up with new ideas.

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