Sunday, August 2, 2015

fighting in front of the children ... ?

You should probably fight in front of your kids, at least I think so. 

Fighting in front of the kids can be instructive or destructive, depending.

My generation never saw mom and dad fight.  We might have heard them sometimes, but they were behind closed doors. That was their generation's rule; don't fight in front of the kids.

We went the other way when our kid was growing up, and we did it deliberately.  We figured she'd not know how to argue reasonably unless we showed her how, so that's what we decided.

Interestingly, having her there in the room when contentious issues came up was a great throttle on our verbal and emotional content. We were trying to let her see how grown people could have different ideas and priorities and work them out, and having her within earshot was a continual reminder to get it right.

No escalation, no raised voices, no threats or insults, no outbursts of anger.  Mostly, it was reasonable negotiation of what's important to you and to me and to us.  So, she did us a favor as the unknowing referee.  Years later, she complimented us on how well we'd done demonstrating that stuff for her and how she now does the same with her husband.

If she only knew.  :)

FYI: Kids routinely exposed to high-intensity conflict between their parents can suffer brain injury similar to PTSD. As long as the arguing is constructive and respectful, however, kids can learn a lot about relationships and conflict resolution from watching parents sort out issues.