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Arguing in Front of Your Children
February 04, 2020 | Freya Allen Shoffner, Esquire

Arguing in Front of Your Children




It isn't easy raising kids. There are different approaches to take and decisions to be made. Sometimes parents see eye to eye on different aspects of child rearing and sometimes they don't. It can put a lot of stress on a marriage and create conflict. It is important to reach a consensus. Reaching a consensus reduces the stress and results in fewer arguments. This makes for a better marriage and happier and healthier kids.

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It is very common for couples to disagree on parenting issues. Each parent grew up in a different household with different styles, beliefs, and experiences. These differences have shaped them and their parenting styles. It is important to effectively work out these differences to not have a negative impact on your children and marriage.

Differences become problematic when there is conflict regarding rules and discipline. Basic nighttime habits, homework routines, and manners should be agreed upon. They should be worked out in private, not in front of the kids. Peaceful parenting matters for children of all ages.

Resolve conflicts about the kids in private. That isn't to say that all conflict must be private. Conflict is part of life and seeing its positive resolution is healthy for kids. However, parents who disagree regularly can result in kids who are depressed, anxious, more prone to breaking rules and aggressive behavior. It also creates a sense of instability and insecurity.

Parents must have a unified presence. If one parent disagrees with the other, they should still support each other in front of the kids. This includes no rolling of the eyes, interrupting, or passive aggressive sighing that indicates disagreement. The differences between the parents can be worked out later when the children aren't present. Additionally, if the child realizes the parents aren't in agreement it is likely he or she will take advantage of the differences for their own benefit.

Different doesn't mean wrong. This applies to overall views of parenting and arguments underway. Learn from times like these how your spouse was raised regarding discipline, values, and even routines. More fully understanding your spouse's background will help you understand and even respect their parenting approaches and beliefs.

Don't accuse. Accusatory statements put the other person on the defensive. Instead of telling the other person how they are wrong, tell them what you are feeling and what you would like. Word choice is very important.

Support your spouse. Undermining your partner to your child is as destructive as arguing about your kids in front of your kids. Support your spouse whether they are present or not. Acting otherwise suggests a weakness between the parents and invites disciplinary and other problems. You can show empathy to your child while still supporting your partner's stance on an issue.

Raising kids is challenging. Work with your partner as well as possible to support each other during this very important time. Both your marriage and your kids will benefit.
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