Parents Arguing Negative Effect on Children

Perhaps each couple was advised not to avoid parents arguing in front of child. Yet many couples can afford this “luxury.” When emotions escalate, it is difficult to resist to follow the dictates of common sense. But no matter how difficult, each couple should build positive habit not to involve children indirectly in conflicts between them. Studies in psychology have shown that children who witness parental conflict pay a serious price: they are more aggressive, suffer from more emotional problems, and are experiencing more stress.

parents arguing

But that’s not all. The partners in the couple also suffer from additional negatives when arguing in front of their children. M. E. Cummings studies how the presence and absence of children can affect on the sharpness of the conflict. The results show that when the parents arguing in the presence of children, the conflict between them is fierce.


Cummings explores the 47 couples who took notes of family conflicts in a period of 15 days. Based on notes he established two principles. The first is that when the partners argue in the presence of children, they use more negative tactics during the conflict – insulting partner, increased aggression, throwing and breaking objects. The second pattern is that when partners fight in front of children, they are more likely to argue about issues related to children themselves. This is especially stressful and emotionally upsetting for children because it makes them feel guilty that Mom and Dad have problems because of them.

parents arguing sad children

Parents arguing – How it changes because of the presence of children?

It is curious why partners are violent towards each other during the conflict in the presence of children?

The answer is not entirely clear. But one of the possible explanations is that each of us strive to be presented in the most positive light in the eyes of others. Our own children are no exception. It is therefore possible to be even more  upset at your partner when he/she treats us badly in the presence of children because their opinion is important for us. For example, if our partner is accusing us that we are irresponsible, we fear that children share the same belief for us. So we start to defend more vigorously to attack and blame the other in turn.

parents arguing in front of child avoid

The advice to avoid parents arguing in front of children is really useful. Observing it, except that we will protect children, we will create the prerequisite for a softer tone of the conflict, which in turn increases the likelihood of a “peaceful” and its productive solution. There isn’t a couple which can avoid conflict. But the happiest couples are characterized not by the absence of conflict, but with the ability to allow civilized manner and without causing emotional harm – especially to children.


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