5 things to do when your child is affected by parents arguing

By Dr Richard C. Woolfson   — April 17, 2019
  • 1. Talk about it
    1 / 5 1. Talk about it

    Of course you wish your kindergartener hadn’t witnessed your adult arguments. And of course you wish you hadn’t started fighting with each other in the first place.

    But even if she doesn’t ask about it at the time, or later on, you can be sure she is deeply troubled by what she saw. That’s why you should speak to her about the incident, in order to avoid misunderstandings or worries from developing.

    Related: Fighting in front of the kids: how it affects them

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  • 2. Reassure her
    2 / 5 2. Reassure her

    Your kid has to learn that virtually everyone bickers sometimes, and that this is a normal – but unpleasant – part of relationships. Reassure her that Mum and Dad can have a minor argument occasionally and yet still love each other afterwards.

    In this way, she’ll learn that it is possible to care deeply for someone and be annoyed with them at the same time. Your words of reassurance will have a calming effect.

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  • 3. Never use violence
    3 / 5 3. Never use violence

    Avoid being physically aggressive (or threatening physical aggression) during a fight. If your child sees that, she’ll always be disturbed and upset.

    She may become afraid to leave the house in case something dreadful happens to either of you while she’s away. Or she may worry that, one day, you will beat her when you are angry.

    Related: 5 ways to turn that fight with your husband into a better marriage

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  • 4. Show by example
    4 / 5 4. Show by example

    Make sure that your child sees you and Hubby make up. To her, the fight may have seemed very intense at the time (and it probably was). Show through your behaviour that the two of you have solved your differences now and are best friends again.

    True, it would be better if she hadn’t seen the dispute in the first place, but at least you can demonstrate a resolution.

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  • 5. Think before you fight
    5 / 5 5. Think before you fight

    The next time tension builds up between you and your spouse, try hard to resolve your dispute quietly. Avoid resorting to a yelling match.

    Remember that unless your child is not at home, she’ll hear arguments between you, no matter how much you try to conceal them. She is sensitive to the sound of raised voices, and she’ll come looking for you. If possible, therefore, keep conflicts to yourselves.


    What to do when the kids fight
    5 ways to make up after a fight with your wife or husband

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