A study done by the University of Notre Dame has backed up the well known, and long believed truth that parents fighting destructively in front of their young kids is not good. The National Institute of Mental Health funded this study which has determined that increased rates of anxiety and depression during teen years can be tied back to witnessing non-constructive parental conflict.
The surprising point in this: “not all parental conflict is bad.” Kids seeing their parents have a disagreement and work through it to a resolution is going to help them in life. Seeing parents in a constructive conflict which includes solving the problem, supporting each other, verbal reassurance, and eventual resolution makes kids feel safe and secure.
The other side of that is destructive conflict in which hurtful words are thrown about and there is aggression that ends in withdrawal instead of resolution. This leads to anxiety and insecurity. It does not provide an example of communication or problem solving and it can be a real problem later in life.
With this type of conflict being the source of insecurity for children, it is really no surprise that it is partially why parents fight in a destructive manner in the first place. It is an unhealthy cycle that, unless broken, will continue and chip away at relationships.
The cycle may very well end with letting your kids see a constructive fight play out.
If there is an issue that you and your partner disagree on a little, but can come to an agreement on peacefully then sort it out around the kiddos. Keep it simple, but don’t make it a joke either. The point is to let your kids know that disagreements happen, sometimes people can get upset, but you can compromise and always love each other. The last part is really important.
In the event that a destructive fight starts, send the kids into another room. Once things have calmed down and things have been resolved, make sure you talk with the kids about conflict resolution. If kids grow up thinking their parents never fight, it sets a completely unrealistic expectation for any relationship, much less their own potential marriage.
Farbod Majd Esq.
Divorce Attorney w/ offices in Beverly Hills/Los Angeles
Services in English, Turkish, and Farsi/Persian (Iranian/American Lawyer)
8383 Wilshire Blvd Suite 646, Beverly Hills, CA 90211
310.956.4600 | Fax: 310.878.8989 | [email protected]