Most parents are aware that the image children create of themselves or the people around them stems from the biggest influence they have: their parents and how their father and mother treat them as well as each other.
Because of that, it is always recommended that a disagreement or fight between parents should not take place in front of the kids as it makes them feel unsafe and leads to severe trust issues. Witnessing these fights can also lead to bad behavior in the future.
However, this doesn’t mean that you should paint an unrealistic image or fake an angelic relationship as parents, as it is normal to have differences. In fact, it is illogical and unhealthy for their mental and psychological state to think that everything is perfect all the time.
When you argue in front of the kids, it is important that you maintain a respectful tone and show them that you can handle a difference in a opinion by resolving the situation peacefully and respectfully. If, for any reason, you do end up losing your temper or speaking in a stern tone, it is necessary to talk to your kids and make sure that they understand that this argument is temporary and that your relationship is intact and that you still love each other to make them feel safe.
When the situation gets out of hand in front of the children and violence or insults are involved, you need to take a stance and pay attention to the message that was sent to them. In this article, our positive parenting guru, Rana Hany, will walk us through what should be done if your children witness an unpleasant disagreement that involves violence:
- The first thing you need to do is acknowledge their feelings by making them understand that they have a right to feel scared. You should also let them get it out of their system, even if they end up repeating the same thing over and over again.
- Ask their opinion on what happened and give them the space to let out any negative emotions or fear they have. This is essential so they don’t repress any feelings and end up storing it in the brain in a black room only to be released when they grow up in a negative form.
- Explain that what happened is abnormal, completely wrong, and that their father should not have acted the way he did. Try to explain that he was unable to control his anger and that sometimes happens with grown ups who have not trained enough on dealing with anger issues or expressing their emotions in a correct manner. However, stress on the fact that it is wrong and completely unacceptable.
- Do not give excuses by blaming yourself or explaining that it was your actions that led to their father getting angry to that extent. This is because they need to fully grasp the concept that no matter what, resorting to violence is not an option.
- Reassure your children that both you and their father love them so much and that your love for them will never be affected regardless of the problems that occur between you and their father.
- Children tend to blame themselves for issues that occur between parents, making it essential that you reassure them that they are not the root or cause of the problem. The guilt they feel can grow especially if the fight has something to do with the kids such as their tuition fees or how to raise them.
- Always explain that the problem occurred because you as parents were unable to communicate and understand each other properly, but it has nothing to do with the kids or your love for them.
No matter what you decide to do with their father or how you plan on responding, you need to explain to them what will happen especially if separation or divorce are on the table. Try to reassure them that there are certain relationships that are constant in life such as that of a child and parents or their siblings. However, there are also other relationships that can change such as friendships or marriage. Explain that when you found that it was difficult to live together and respect each other, you decided it was better for the whole family if the marriage would end.
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