22 February 2009

Momversation: Is it ok to fight in front of your kids?

Arguments with your spouse are part and parcel of family life. I mean, there is no way to manage a life full of jobs, kids, emotions, responsibilities, and details without running into conflicts with your partner. But should you keep those conflicts private? Conventional wisdom says "you shouldn't fight in front of your kids," but is that really true? This is the question I ask in my most recent Momversation.

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We don't fight...we 'have discussions.' :)

We don't fight...we 'have discussions.' :)

Should be: "Is it OK to fight?"

Definitely a cultural question - individual cultural question not just ethnic, etc.

I think a "disagreement" in front of the kids is ok as long as it's not all the time. They have to grow up knowing a marriage is work and couples don't always have to agree. Otherwise they will have unrealistic expectations and never have a happy marriage.

It's fine to argue in front of kids, I agree that they should have a realistic outlook on marriage. I think it also shows children that you can have a disagreement while remaing respectful, and it doesn't threaten or negate the love you have for the person you're arguing with. I think if parents argue healthily, it actually provides more security to kids (we've all seen children who freak out when parents fight); if they know arguing is a natural part of a relationship, it will take the fear out of it when they do see it happen in their own lives as well.

Children need to see that with arguments, discussions, debates, disagreements, etc., that there IS a resolution. They need to witness the problem solving techniques. It is very imperative to a healthy family relationship to ALWAYS show forth love and understanding after its all worked out. This goes for adult to adult, adult to child, child to child situations. But specifically for parent situations, the children need to feel secure in knowing that just because mommy and daddy don't agree on something doesn't mean they don't love each other and it especially doesn't mean they don't love their child. Children can interpret it that way and blame themselves. Be very careful on how often you argue as well. Heated arguments are different from calm rational discussions. We all have differences, that's what makes the world go round:)

I'm not sure if it is okay to fight in front of children, but I think it would be a strange world to not see your parents fight. They are human and would have disagreements just like anyone else.

However, if you decide to fight in front of your children, I believe it is VERY important to resolve the fight in front of them as well -- when one decides to apologize to the other, or vice versa. It is important for kids to witness the resolution and bring closure to the argument just as you would.

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