What is the impact of parents fighting in the presence of children? In today’s fast-paced world and with demanding professional careers, it is not uncommon for parents to get back home stressed. There are times when some parents lose self-control and start arguing with the partners. In some cases, these arguments lead to abuse or even violence. Violence, verbal or physical is a clear recipe for disaster for growing up children. There is enough evidence to prove that children who are exposed to verbal abuse or violence at home have severe psycho-social problems and will reflect in their behaviour when they grow up as teenagers and adults.
Parents should realise that in any family there are disagreements and can be resolved peacefully in the absence of children. Arguments, when escalated, will lead to unpleasant situations. These will leave a very nasty impact on the young minds and very often they are irreversible.
Let’s explore the impacts of parents fighting in the presence of children:
1. Aggressive behaviors:
Children are fast learners, they tend to believe that the only way to resolve conflicts/ disagreements/ solve problems is through fighting. If children see the adults in the family resort to physically resolving issues, they will also imitate the same behavior in their lives. Children find this to be convenient, which results in larger issues with their behavior as they grow-up.
2. Emotional suffering:
Parents are the primary caregivers. The constant conflicts/ abuse between them triggers negative emotions among children. This leads to severe insecurity resulting in psychological problems like anxiety and depression.
3. Health issues:
There are high chances that parental conflicts will aggravate the young child’s feeling of helplessness and the child will start feeling emotionally insecure. Fighting between parents will directly undermine the child’s sense of security about the family’s stability. It is not uncommon to find children from disturbed homes either stop eating or start over-eating. Children may complain of stomach ache and may find trouble sleeping at night. This is stressful for young minds and will take a toll on their physical and psychological well-being.
4. Issues with self-esteem
Some children may find it challenging to make friends and will remain aloof and lonely. Children simply will not feel good about themselves, they start feeling worthless. Children may grow up feeling inferior to others. Some of the solid indicators of low self-esteem in adolescents & teenagers are poor academic performance, school dropouts, teen pregnancy, alcohol & drug abuse, depression, eating disorders leading to obesity or bulimia etc.
The child will find it challenging to concentrate in studies when the child is pre-occupied with constant conflicts between parents and the yelling the child has to face frequently. The child is unable to reason out the cause for conflicts at home and may often blame themselves for the issues between the parents.
It is important for parents to keep a calm home environment. Parents should be aware of the damages done through yelling and losing control. Once in a while, if this happens, it is important that the parents simply apologize to the child, explain the reasons for losing control. Let the child know that the parents love them.
Conflicts and disagreements are part of life. The challenge is to ensure that these don’t turn into abuse and violence. Children as old as six months can sense that there is something not right between the parents and directly impacts them psychologically. Parents mean everything to the children. Lastly, it is important for parents to know that “how children feel about themselves and their family”, has a lot to do with how parents associate with each other at home and in public.
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