Do You Fight In Front of the Kids?

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fightThis comes as good news to me. Motherlode writer Lisa Belkin recently presented the findings published last month in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. In a study that followed 235 families with children aged 5 to 7, parents were given a series of surveys over the course of three years, with questions about the “argument style” of both partners.

The couples also were also videotaped arguing and then evaluated whether the discussion was 'constructive' or "destructive." Hmmm. 

I wonder what video of my husband and I fighting would reveal. Arguing in front of our children is something we've done--and in all honesty, will probably do again. It doesn't happen much, and it never feels good after the fact, but it is real life. We have unspoken boundaries that we are pretty good about not crossing in front of the kids though. When we fight in front of them, we don't curse for example. Believe me, it's better that way.

Belkin writes, "For decades, studies have shown that when parents fight, children are likely to become aggressive, anxious and withdrawn. But if you parse the “good” fighting styles from the “bad” ones, studies like this one are finding, children whose parents argue in constructive ways are more social and empathetic than their peers."

"Constructive" for us means letting our sons understand that we are human beings with feelings and emotions, and letting them witness how we can differ and express hurt still with some degree of respect. One time after an argument with my husband in front of the boys, I immediately told my sons something I really believe made sense to them. "Just like you guys get angry with one another and yell and scream, but still love each other--so do we," I said. 

Do you fight in front of the kids? Would you say you are constructive or destructive?

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