Thursday, August 5, 2010

Arguing in Front of Children

No family is an oasis of peace and harmony. In fact, all families have disagreements and arguments from time to time. As a parent, you may have asked yourself if it’s appropriate to argue in front of the children. Some experts caution that children might feel anxious when their parents disagree, which results in tension and uneasiness within the family. They contend that children need the security of feeling that their parents are a unified pair.

Dr. Gregory Ramey, child psychologist at Dayton Children’s Medical Center, suggests that this “protectionistic” view underestimates children’s resiliency. Ramey explains that children already know that their parents have different points of view and that arguing in front of children may be beneficial. He states, “Children and teens deal with disagreements all the time. Watching their parents argue and resolve issues teaches them a great lesson about how to deal with the real world.”

A few cautions to keep in mind about arguing in front of the children - steer clear of certain topics, depending on the ages of your children. Also, don’t make arguing a routine or argue over and over about the same topics without ever reaching a solution. Talk in a courteous manner and have a compromising attitude. Never use physical force. Avoid name-calling. If one of you is too angry to fight fairly, stop the discussion and agree to pick it back up when you are both calm. Then, listen effectively to each other, clarify what you are hearing and work towards a “win-win” situation.

Parental arguments can teach children that people who love each other can also disagree about issues, and yet eventually come to some resolution.