When it comes to the issue of disagreement between a couple, there are those who believe that the kids should never have to witness their parents disagree. Their point is that these experiences may affect children emotionally. It is true that when a relationship is always about fights and violence, it could have serious traumatic and emotional consequences for kids. [Read More About This Here]
Some, on the hand, believe it’s okay for parents to disagree, and in fact they also see this as a healthy part of a child’s development.
My opinion on this matter at hand is this:
Conflicts are a regular part of life.
Not modeling this fact for kids may give them an imbalanced view about relationships.
Why Should Kids Be Allowed To See Parents Disagree?
Conflicts are a Normal Part of Life: Kids need to have a balanced view about relationships. They need to see that people who love each other do not always agree about everything. The fact that I love someone does not mean we will always agree, and I must learn to respect them in spite of those differences. This will also impact on their marriage as they grow older. They will know that we can still love each other even when we disagree.
Anger is a Legitimate Emotion: Children must learn that it’s okay to be angry. The way the anger is handled between parents will go on to help the kids in their relationships. Playground conflicts happen all the time in school and at play; they must be taught how to handle them without messing up great relationships. What better place to model this than in their home and with their parents?
Arguments Can Be Done Respectfully: While it’s okay to disagree, it’s never okay to demean the other person. When arguments are handled in a mature way, kids learn another valuable lesson in life – Arguments can be done respectfully.
Arguments Get Resolved: Kids must see that even though you have issues, you get over them and come to a compromise. When parents get into conflicts and they are able to resolve them, it helps the kids a great deal. They learn that conflicts should be resolved and it should not signal the end of a relationship.
Disagree Respectfully: This means issues should be dealt with respectfully. Avoid threats, screaming, name calling and violence of any kind.
Reserve The Heavier Issues For Later: Don’t argue about sensitive issues or Adult issues in the presence of your kids. Reserve the heavy stuff for later, behind closed doors, when you’re alone. Also, issues that concern the kids should also be reserved for later. The kids should never have to see one parent take sides. This will often lead to resentment against the parent who does not seem to be on their side.
Deal With Issues Before They Escalate: Unresolved issues swept under the carpet are only ticking time bombs waiting to explode. Learn to deal with issues as soon as possible, this way, emotions will be in check when you disagree, and you will not need to go over the top with your arguments.
Make Sure Your Kids Witness The Resolution: Even if they do not see when the actual issues are sorted, they need to see that you both have genuinely sorted out your issues and that life is back to normal. This shouldn’t be forced though, kids have a way of picking up those silent undercurrents of anger. This will help them to see that people make mistakes all the time, but they don’t have to remain in that position forever.
Arguing in front of kids can teach them valuable lessons for life and living.
Oluseye Ashiru is a Coach and Trainer at MAP Academy, a capacity building outfit focused on helping mothers discover, embrace and fulfill their individual passion, so that they can live the kind of lives they desire to without sacrificing family or faith.
She is a Certified Coach, Trainer and Speaker with the John Maxwell Team of Global Coaches and a published author of 4 books and counting.
Her passion is for helping mothers to be more intentional about their motherhood and to also equip moms with the right tools, structure and strategy to discover, embrace and fulfill their life's purpose.
Her books can be found on Amazon.
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