Why Parents Shouldn’t Argue In Front of the Kids
Mon, April 19, 2021

Why Parents Shouldn’t Argue In Front of the Kids

If the family still has little kids, parents should be more aware and careful when they get into an argument / Photo by: Vadim Guzhva via 123RF

 

In every kind of relationship, there will come a time when the couple will disagree and argue. This can lead to a heated conversation. Arguments and even fights within a family are normal and are not usually a big deal. However, each party involved should practice having more mature conversations and an open mind. 

If the family still has little kids, parents should be more aware and careful when they get into an argument. Remember that as you express your frustrations, the child might overhear your heated conversation that can cause them long-lasting damages in terms of their emotional and mental well-being. 

Hindustan Times, a daily newspaper from India, reported about a new study that explains how a simple marital bout can cause emotional abuse on the children that may have an effect on the way they form relationships with other people as they grow up.

 

Trust Issues

Even those harmless and mundane conflicts inside the family can cause negative effects on little kids. It is said that harmless everyday conflicts can make little kids incapable of processing their emotions, especially the extreme ones. Conflicts inside the family can also throw them off-balance interpersonally when they grow up into adults.

Lead author Alice Schermerhorn from the University of Vermont said, “The message is clear: even low-level adversity like parental conflict isn’t good for kids.” The published research observed 99 children who were 9 to 11-years-old, divided into two groups based on their scores on how much parental conflict they experienced and the intensity of the effects of parental conflicts.

It is also noted in the study that shy children are more vulnerable to the effects of parental conflicts. The study said that children who were both shy and felt threatened by the conflicts that they were witnessing caused them to fail in identifying neutral interactions. 

 

Teenage Problems

Aside from the emotional effects caused by parental conflicts on children, previous reports also said that those kinds of arguments put teenagers into a higher risk of substance abuse. Verywell Family, an online source that offers a realistic and friendly approach to parenting and pregnancy, explained in an article that children who are living in an environment where high conflict happens have an increased chance for smoking and underage drinking.

Teenagers who also witness extreme arguments between their parents are also at risk of having eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia. Experts have said that if a child suffers from an eating disorder of any kind, having a loving and stress-free environment while eating can be helpful for their recovery. 

In an article by Forbes, an American business magazine, it was mentioned that a family meal should be characterized by articulate and careful conversation without arguments. Children and teens are great at listening and despite their young age, they are smart enough to be aware of unfiltered conversations. 

Aside from the emotional effects caused by parental conflicts on children, previous reports also said that those kinds of arguments put teenagers into a higher risk of substance abuse / Photo by: Antonio Guillem via 123RF

 

Conflicts Cause Fear

Yelling in an argument can also affect the child’s development. This kind of engagement is changing their brains, according to experts. Dr. Laura Markham, founder of Aha! Parenting, explained: “During a soothing experience, neurotransmitters respond by sending out soothing biochemicals that tell the children that they’re safe. That’s when they build neural pathways to calm down. However, the opposite might happen if a toddler with an underdeveloped prefrontal cortex gets screamed at.”

Fatherly, an online resource that provides articles that are helpful for fatherhood and parenting, shared that argument around the kid can make the biochemicals inside their brain alter the way they respond to fear.

Yelling in an argument can also affect the child’s development. This kind of engagement is changing their brains, according to experts / Photo by: Cathy Yeulet via 123RF

 

Aggressiveness in Kids

When conflict is ingrained in the child’s mind, they might think that it is normal to yell anytime they are having extreme emotions. Remember that as parents, you will be your child’s first and foremost role models that they will look up to. Dr. Markham said that if a child starts to shrug off their parents’ scolding, this might mean that “there’s too much scolding going on.” 

Parental conflict is also linked to delinquency and conduct problems in children. As they grow up, these kids might experience a hard time socializing with other people as they adjust to an environment where yelling and arguments in the open don’t usually happen. 

 

It Teaches Hostility

Some adults might think that avoiding arguments by putting it to an end abruptly can spare their children from the negative effects of parental conflict. However, children are great at sensing emotions and hostility among the people around them. Developmental Science, a peer-reviewed scientific journal covering developmental psychology and developmental cognitive neuroscience, shared that if parents start to become emotionally unavailable because of their marital issues, children will be left in the dark. 

They will know that something wrong is happening, but they don’t know exactly what it is. This kind of nonverbal anger or stonewalling can cause problematic effects on the children as well.