My husband and I had known each other for just a year before we decided to tie the knot. Soon after that, we had a little one on the way. It all happened so fast. And after moving in together and seeing the people we really were, there were times we bumped heads and disagreed, usually leading to loud arguments.
When we had intense arguments during my first pregnancy I knew that our little one, though in the womb, felt and heard everything that was going on whether she understood it or not. Shortly after our second child was born, we finally realized that arguing in front of our children was not helpful to our family as a whole. Children learn by following the examples set by those around them. As parents, we realized that we should always be conscious of our actions and words around our children.
Here are the reasons we stopped arguing in front of our children;
1. Arguments frighten children
Growing up when I heard my parents argue, the first feeling that came over me was fear. I didn’t know or understand what exactly was going on. All I knew is that I didn’t feel good. I usually hid in a separate room until things calmed down. Even when I thought things were calm, if I then asked a question of either parent, I could still feel the flames in their response, so I learned to keep my distance altogether.
Sometimes as parents we get so caught up in our own emotions and feelings that we forget there are little ones watching who can feel those same emotions. And they are too young to understand that, even though mommy and daddy may argue, they still love each other at the end of the day.
2. Children feel forced to take sides
After witnessing a fight, children will begin to take sides, and they usually choose to stay away from the parent that seems most aggressive in the arguments. They will cling to the parent who seems the most vulnerable and innocent. This is not good! This will then cause friction between the child and the parent they see as more aggressive. They will begin to assume that that parent will take that same aggressive stance towards them, causing loyalty and trust to diminish.
3. ‘Mommy and Daddy do it, so can I’
Children are like sponges. They can and will imitate anything that looks and seems normal. If arguing and having disagreements are normal in your house, they will conclude that it’s ok to act out their feelings by yelling or going back and forth with their siblings or friends at school. They might even begin to communicate aggressively with you.
Children learn to manage conflicts based on how we manage our conflicts. My husband and I try our best to discuss important matters behind closed doors when the children are asleep. We have a large family, so ears are always open.
4. Even if you fight using “code words”, children can pick up on them
Our children are smart and they can pick up on a lot of things. Often times when my husband and I are talking, we notice our children are staring at us and listening intently.
5. A home should be a place of respect and security
The environment in your house should be a place of security, growth, and love. Not hostility and disrespect. At the end of the day you want your children to respect you both as parents. If they respect you first, they will learn to respect other people.
Ladies, how do you manage conflict in your home?
Kim is the author of where she discovers what it means to be a woman of GOD, wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend and entrepreneur.