How to handle arguments with your partner in front of your kids

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How should you handle arguments if the kids are present?

It’s been some time now that I wanted to write about this issue, the way we, as parents and as people in a relationship handle our arguments in front of our kids. I have two little kids at home and have been married for more than a decade, and I have friends who have been married the same time, or way more or way less. And have kids.

And everyone has their share of arguments. As human beings, living in a fast moving world that is filled with competition and barely gives us the time to connect with our loved ones, it can get difficult keeping emotions in check.

Arguments at home…

Some time back I was at an event where I got to catch up with a few of my friends – all mums. Somehow the discussion veered towards partners and the amount of disagreements and arguments at home, especially when kids are around.

A friend of mine, in particular, was talking about how she felt guilty after a recent argument with her husband that went out of hand, and both partners ended up shouting and name calling each other, in front of their kids. My friend didn’t realise it then, but her kids happened to be quiet for the next few days, avoiding talking to the parents.

That is when I asked them what they think is the best way to deal with this. The need to put across your message to your partner that may end up causing a fight, but making sure it does not affect the kids.

Here are some interesting tips we all shared:

1. Don’t look at your kid for sides. One big mistake couples end up doing while arguing when there is a kid in the house is to try and engage the kid in the conversation and ask who is right. This is definitely a big NO, as it ends up confusing the child. It is as if you are asking the kid to pick a favourite between mamma and papa, which is not right.

2. It is okay to argue but with respect. As a couple, you should not stop arguing in front of your kids because you feel it is ‘wrong.’ The fact is, arguing and disagreeing is a normal thing and can be a good way for two individuals to express their conflicting views. Make sure that you respect your partner and do not call them names or disrespect them in any way, even if you do not see eye to eye.

3. No violence. No matter how heated the argument and how much you disagree with your partner, you are NOT ALLOWED to hit each other in any form, using anything at all. Throwing a pillow, vase or lashing out with your hand is not acceptable.

4. Don’t lie. You sure want to win the fight, but not by lying. If you know you are in the wrong please accept the same and end it there, instead of trying to come up with excuses or lies and showing your partner down.

5. Be mature. Whatever you do, remember you are adults and need to be mature in your behaviour, especially when you are the role model for your child. Express your hurt and anger, but in a way that is civilised.

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