How to Fight Fair

‘Shhhh… not in front of the kids!’ We’ve all been there… In the car with a captive audience… or at the dinner table. An argument erupts and the question is… do you save it for later…? Or just let it all out in front of the kids?

Studies conducted at the University of Rochester, NY, found that it’s okay for your kids to see you argue, as long you work it out.

Parental conflict isn’t a problem if parents resolve their differences. But when conflicts remain open, children respond with depression, anxiety, and/or behavior problems.

They found that the fights that hurt kids — and parents — may have some or all of these negative features:
• Defensiveness
• Personal insults
• Verbal hostility
• Nonverbal expressions of hostility
• Stonewalling
• Physical aggression. Most experts will tell you that physical violence is enormously damaging to children’s emotional well-being.

The fights that don’t hurt kids — and which may actually help them — have many of these constructive features:
• Problem solving
• Compromise
• Expressing positive feelings in the context of conflict
• Making supportive statements
• Verbal expressions of affection

So, the moral of the story is; it’s okay to fight but make sure your kids get to see you work it out. They’ll learn some valuable conflict resolution skills and their world remains intact. Never forget – you are their world!

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