Parental arguing is inevitable. But baring it all in front of your children can adversely affect the emotional and mental well being of your child. In fact, in the long run, it is even tantamount to child abuse in certain countries!
While we don’t want our kids to be affected, we can’t really avoid conflict forever! What needs discussing, needs to be discussed. What we can do, however, is minimize the impact of such ‘discussions’ on our children.
Here are 10 negative effects of parents fighting in front of children.
1.Guilt and Shame
Children often believe that they are the reason for their parents’ fighting and end up feeling guilty. This can be emotionally distressing for them. How do you feel when you see your parents fighting? Related: 12 Things you should never say to your parents
A home is a child’s haven of love and care. Parents fighting in front of their kids results in chaos and tension, leaving the child frightened, anxious and helpless. This feeling of insecurity can last a lifetime.
3.Poor Academics and Health Issues
The mind of a child witnessing chronic parental fights is always preoccupied with the fights and arguments. This makes it difficult for him to concentrate on tasks at hand, adversely affecting academic performance. Such an overworked mind can also pave the way to physical ailments and chronic illnesses.
4.Sloppy Role Models
As children, we parents are our child’s first, biggest and most influential role-models. Children are like mops – they soak up everything they see us saying or doing.
This will not only affect their personal relationships but also those with their peers and later with their colleagues.
5.Mental and behavioral disorders
Fighting and arguments take a mental toll on our minds and leave us feeling drained. This effect is more pronounced in children, as their minds do not have strong coping mechanisms in place.
Children who grow up in volatile environments are known to develop behavioral issues: such children either become volatile and tend to behave recklessly(getting into fights at school, becoming rowdy, etc.), or may withdraw and become extremely introverted, avoiding even normal social contact.
6.Impacts Their Personality
The effect of these fights is like leaving footprints in clay– there is no undoing once the deed is done. Children who grow up watching their parents fight all the time tend to develop personality traits like bullying, escapism, compulsive behavior, inflexibility, and can be very difficult to get along with. This affects not only their personality but also their professional and social lives.
Parenting With Love And Logic (Updated and Expanded Edition)
Children who see their parents fighting or arguing in front of them learn that fighting is the way to solve problems, says Apostle Bernard Kumi, the founder of Free family Chaple, Ghana.
Many childhood behavior and emotional problems are triggered by fighting between adults in the family. If a parent shouts or slams a door, it scares the child. When parents fight or argue in front of their children, it makes the children insecure about their status, safety, and welfare.
Consistent emotional distress often translates to physical problems. When a child’s parents fight over money matters, he feels helpless and becomes anxious, worried and upset. Physical symptoms often cause children to miss school or special activities with friends.
10. Relationship Problems
If a child grows up in a family that frequently fights, they learn to fight in their intimate relationships as adults. They will typically fight with their own children in the future.
Many therapists who work with adults spend a lot of time helping them undo the damage that occurred during their childhood years when they observed their parents fighting.
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