As a child the most frustrating moments I experienced were, when I saw my mom upset because of a tiff she had with my father. These arguments did not always happen in front of me or my sister. But looking at my mom teary eyed left me worked up and frustrated. One day in my innocence, I walked up to my mom and said to her,
‘Let papa come back home today, I will ask him why he makes you cry?’
My mom suddenly forgot about her hurt from the argument with papa, and replied wide eyed,
‘Oh dear! You must not speak up in elder’s matters. If we have had an argument, we will sort it out ourselves. You must not get involved.’
I nodded to her thoughtfully but thought in my mind
‘If Mom wants me to keep away from anything to do with the argument, why subject me to the effects of their argument. ‘
I was a teenager then. I had the ability to judge the situation, understand it and form my opinion about it. But what happens when parents argue infront of their kids who are much younger?
Through what I have read about the research on the subject of ‘Parents Fighting Infront of Kids’, there are two schools of thought –
- Physiological changes – Increase in blood pressure, Heart Rate and increased secretion of stress hormones has been observed in kids as young as 6 months, when parent fights happen in their presence.
- Kids subject to regular exposure to their parents’ fights grow up with characteristics that render them incapable of recovering from stress. They are unable to regulate their emotions or calm themselves.
- Such kids run a higher risk of anxiety disorders and depression.
- Stress also cripples kids’ immune system. Children in emotionally unstable households catch cold much more frequently than other kids.
- Such kids are also known to have lower IQs and lower chances of excelling academically.
- Right from the time a child comes into the womb, until 5-7 years of age the aura of a child is attached to mother’s aura. Every emotion that a mother feels has a direct impact on the child to an extent that the child develops the same characteristics.
- The child’s aura picks up thought forms from her parents’ aura which affects her personality. Aggression, anxiety, short-temper, low confidence, limitation to communicate are some most common personality traits that kids prone to fights at home are likely to grow up with.
After having read the above, one can only conclude that it is absolutely wrong to fight in front of kids. As parents we hold this responsibility to provide a nurturing environment to our kids and not subject them to such growth limiting situations. Such behavior is completely non-negotiable, if we want our kids to grow up to be emotionally balanced and matured human beings.
Silver lining to the Dark Cloud
Bestseller John Media writes in his book, ‘Brain Rules for Babies’ that if we fight in front of our kids, then we must make sure that we reconcile also in front of them. This will help the kids create a conclusive mind-map that reads that, ’OK, my parents had a difference of opinion and they argued. But they still respect each other and love each other enough to make it up between them.’
According to the author, this single thought form is almost a game changer and can reverse the negative effects of the argument that the kids witnessed.
Yet, I have my own set of do’s and don’ts when it comes to parent fights and kids –
- Try and keep your voice low when kids are around
- Mind your language. Like literally, kids pick up vocabulary very fast.
- If kids come up and check with you later, explain to them that there was a point of disagreement between you two and thus the argument. Don’t forget to add, ‘Oh it’s just this one thing dear. Mom and dad are still best friends.’
- Make a genuine closing conversation in front of the kids. Let them understand that there can be difference of opinion, yet that does not change much.