We all know that fighting in front of your kids can be very damaging to their development. It can be traumatic for your children to witness Mom and Dad at odds. Luckily David and I rarely fight and if we do we generally don’t do it in front of our munchkins. However, we have been parents for almost eight years now so there have been occasional instances where we have dropped our composure with one another in front of the children. We weren’t the most graceful versions of ourselves. Of course most of us aren’t robots so the chances that our kids will witness discord at some point is a given in most households. Don’t fret though. There is a “good way” to fight so that you don’t irreparably harm your precious little ones. In fact there is a constructive side to them seeing you disagree. Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind when you just can’t control your anger at your significant other.
Speak your piece.
Let’s be honest, when you’re mad, the atmosphere is pretty charged, right? Well, speaking for myself, when I’m angry everyone around me can feel my energy and it’s cold. This kind of hostility can be unhealthier than an actual fight. Always keep in mind that children have very creative imaginations and their interpretations and projections may be worse than the real issue.
Don’t play dirty.
Remember these three rules:
- Use your words not your body. Flailing hand gestures and confronting body language is likely to scare everyone. Don’t forget that your children are continuously observing and replicating your behavior. This is the same for fighting methods.
- Never be a jerk and belittle your partner in front of your kids. They will recall that and wonder if that’s how you really feel.
- Do not involve your children in the fight and never put them in a refereeing or mediating position. You don’t want your child to feel guilty or upset because they are asked to choose a side.
Always make up.
In front of your kids! But make sure you’re both ready to make amends. There’s nothing worse than a forced and inauthentic apology. Just ask your kids. Don’t forget to sit and chat with your children after a row. Express to them that Mom and Dad still love each other and it’s okay to disagree and argue as long as resolution is respectfully reached.
While it’s not a great idea to have verbal throw downs in front of your kids, if you can manage to fight the “right” way your example can provide positive lessons about the way they can handle their own arguments.