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Do you think it is healthy for your children to see you argue? My husband thinks that we should never disagree in front of the children and any arguments should be handled in our room. I don't think we should be really upset and angry in front of our son but I don't think it would be harmful for him to see us work things out and learn how to resolve conflict. What do you all think? -- Julie, StrongMoms Facilitator
I agree with you...of course you should take in account how big of a disagreement you are having before deciding to continue on in front of the child, but children learn from watching their parents. By watching disagreements they can observe and learn that not only is it healthy to have disagreements, your own thoughts and opinions, but they will learn a healthy way to work disagreements in a healthy way when they are faced with them.
Brinny - I agree. I actually find that I'm a more respectful "fighter" in front of my kids with my husband! I am acutely aware that they are going to see me be either rude and mean or gracious and forgiving. That being said, there are certainly times where I'm completely losing my cool and we need to move it to another room. No one is perfect, least of all me! ;-)
What your kids shouldnt see is the yelling and screaming. Having a disagreement and coming to a resolution is very much healthy for them.
I'm a new mom, my son is 9mnths and his father and I have had our differences. We yell and say certain things but he loses his cool to the point where I have to tell him he not to say certain words around the baby. Even though he doesn't understands the words, he grows up hearing them, he may think it's a normal way to speak to people...and that I do not agree with.
Infants can feel the stress between parents that are fighting and so I think you all bring up really important points. Stand your ground!
I agree - yelling and screaming is not healthy behavior. I also realize that babies/toddlers may not know the difference between a disagreement and a fight. Both might feel incredibly stressful to them. Simple disagreements that are handled calmly and talked out in front of the kids is more what I'm referring to than huge fights. Those should definitely be handled away from the kids! Good points, guys.
I agree with some of the others here...it depends on how you are arguing. If you are just arguing and disagreeing, then it can be a good idea to let your children see how conflicts between two people who love each other are handled. If your arguments end with shouting or yelling, then it can be hard for little kids to process that and it may create anxiety. You'll know what is best!
One quick thought. It helps to try and see things through their eyes and address the concerns kids actually have (rather than what we think they might be struggling with). If you think a child may be affected by an argument, it might be good to ask some questions (older children) so you know what they're thinking or model some self-calming techniques as well as soothing and connecting with them. Every kid is different, so what is fine for one might be very distressing to another. "Mistakes" are just a chance to stop modeling perfection and start showing them how to handle imperfection (a much more useful skill).
I like that - mistakes are a great chance to model apologies and forgiveness. Several times when I have snapped at my son or been impatient, I have made sure to tell him that mommy should not have been mad and have asked his forgiveness. I agree that you need to assess your child's ability to filter and handle stress from arguments. These are some great things to think about. I'm certainly becoming more and more aware of the way I handle myself in front of my kids, knowing that they are watching and listening more closely than I am even aware.
IT feels to me, like in general, that kids these days often get a bit to protected. I think it is really good or children to see that there can be conflict in life, we can survive conflict (and yucky feelings), and move on with life. I think that when we raise kids that don't think they can handle being upset, mad, sad, etc. we are doing them a huge diservice. Same deal with being able to handle conflict in a positive manner. So important for them to see some conflict but if it's excessive it's important then to pull kids out of the situation. They experience stress just like you and I do.
Keep us posted on how you are doing and if you have more questions,
I personally prefer to not argue at all in front of my son. We get along well though, so we don't argue a lot. I think as long as there is no tension and no anger then it isn't too bad to argue in front of him. Anything with tension I would settle away from him.
For me, I don't agree arguing in front of the children most specially on infants because they can easily follow. But if the child already understands situation then I think it's ok to let them see for them to learn from sharing opinions.
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