Door-slamming, name calling and raised voices are common occurrences in so many families, yet most parents don’t stop and think how this affects their children.
When parents are fighting, children are all ears and it has a huge impact on their feelings, current state and future development. Although a fight between two spouses may seem irrelevant, it’s actually a huge mistake to fight in front of your children, and here’s why.
1. Influencing Their Emotional Stability
Although arguments are a natural part of every relationship, too much on a regular basis, leaves your child on an emotional rollercoaster. If you are constantly fighting the wrong way, it will influence your child’s emotional stability.
It might result in depression and in some cases hostility, as confirmed by Dr. Gordon Harold, a researcher at Cardiff University in Cardiff.
Fighting can teach your children a good lesson, however only if you fight the ’right way’. Both partners should be able to demonstrate the ability to communicate and resolve issues, without passive anger, silent treatments, or physical and psychological abuse, in order to spare the child of unnecessary trauma.
2. Endangering Their Health
Constant fighting can influence your child’s physical health. Some children will have stomachaches or headaches, and their immune system might become more unstable due to stress, so they end up being sick more often. Our mental health can have a lot of influence on our physical health and children are especially sensitive.
This is one of the major reasons why you should count to 10, calm your nerves and stop fighting in front of your children.
3. Setting a Bad Example
Children learn the most from what you are and what you do. You are their teacher even when you’re not aware of it or trying to teach them a lesson. Especially at a young age, children are like sponges.
They soak up pretty much everything that they hear and see, which later on manifests through their own behaviour. And if they witness you fighting and lashing out each other, it’s not an image you can undo in their minds by trying to fix the problem with cheap flowers or a simple bar of chocolate for your spouse.
However, don’t make the world look like picture perfect, because this won’t have a positive influence on your child. Conflict is normal, but the resoling of a conflict in a normal way has to be a part of it.
If you’re being disrespectful to your partner, and persist in doing this in every argument, your child will think this is normal and behave in the exact same manner. And you don’t want to teach them that arguing fiercely is a mature way of handling problems.
4. Making them Feel Less Secure
Constant fighting can disrupt the feeling of safety and security in children. Parents are their anchor. And they are the figures in their lives that always have their back. When their two greatest sources of protection fight, it sets of a red alert in child’s mind.
They feel less safe and sound, because something is wrong with their ’shield’. Don’t let your children be scared. It will lead them to bottle up all that fear, which will later on manifest as frustration, anxiety or even misbehaviour.
5. Affecting Their Future Relationships
Even though it might seem harmless, the way you behave towards your partner is going to reflect on your child’s behaviour towards their relationships. Children can replay your behaviour and issues through their relationships with family, friends, siblings or teachers at school.
This is another way of showing a bad example. But it’s not just about them following in your footsteps. They will start to believe that this is the way they should treat others in their surrounding which will later on disable them from having meaningful and normal relationships.
6. Diminishing their Confidence
Studies have shown that children who grew up in environments where there was a little of conflict, had problems with socialising and fitting in. Somehow, the constant arguing led them to withdraw in themselves, have lack of confidence making socialising with other children much more hard for them.
This can cause a lot of psychological issues, especially when they reach their teen years. They will shut down, have a hard time making friends and being open for new experiences.
7. Contributing to Psychiatric Illnesses
Dr Nicholas Walsh, from the UEA’s School of Psychology claims that difficulties in families may be damaging for the brain, thus making children who grew up in such environments more prone to psychiatric illnesses.
Studies have also shown that children who were exposed to mild or moderate family problems when they were at the age of 11 or younger, had a smaller part of the brain called cerebellum, which is a centre for skill learning, regulation of stress and sensory motor control.
Now that you know how serious family arguments can be and how they can affect your children for a lifetime, think twice before you start fighting. We are after all supposed to enable our children to have a carefree childhood and give our best to make them better human beings than we are.