Is It Ever Okay to Fight in Front of Your Kids?

Love & Sex 11

Is it ever okay to fight in front of your kids?Just a few days ago, my husband and I got in a fairly heated argument while the kids were around but in another room. There was no name calling, but we were definitely not using our inside voices.

And in the middle of it all, as we saw our kids look over the staircase at us in the kitchen with their wide eyes, my husband said to me, "We shouldn't fight in front of the kids," to which I responded, "No, actually, I think sometimes it's good for them to see us argue." And here's why.

Growing up, the only arguments I ever heard my parents have were awful, abusive fights that a few times ended with the police being called. And so in my mind, happy couples never argued at all; there was no in-between. All or nothing.

So when I found myself disagreeing with my spouse or wanting to speak my mind in a way that wasn't nasty but just assertive, I felt like I had somehow failed in my relationship. And I certainly do not want my kids to feel that way.

I now know that in a healthy relationship, both people should feel free to express themselves and their emotions -- as appropriately as possible of course.

Don't get me wrong. My first choice in a perfect world would probably be to discuss issues I have with my husband when my kids aren't around. And if it has anything to do WITH the kids, you can bet we wouldn't talk about it in front of them.

But I'm not perfect. I'm human and hormonal, and sometimes I need to address something right when it happens. And I feel as though the kids will actually be better for hearing it in the long run, especially if apologies are exchanged when it's over.

When we fight in front of them, we're setting a good example on how relationships work: we disagree, we argue, we make up.

I definitely think it's important to talk to the kids about it too, reminding them that Mom and Dad care about each other deeply, we just don't always agree on everything.

The best part is that in fighting in front of my kids, I'm much more aware of what I'm saying and how I'm saying it because I know they're listening, which actually makes our arguments much shorter and more effective.

I won't be fighting in front of my children all the time, but if it does happen, I'm not going to feel bad about it. Part of being a good parent is showing my kids how relationships work. Unfortunately, I never got that as a child, and I know I've suffered greatly because of it.

Do you fight in front of your kids?

 

Image via Spencers Brook Farm/Flickr

marriage, divorce

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eupeptic eupeptic

If by saying "fight" you mean having a civil discussion about what you disagree about in a manner which shows respect and compassion for each other (which seems to be what you're saying, but I want to make my feelings on this clear) rather than disrespect, selfishness (one or both individuals wanting to get things to be their way without compromise), etc. then I agree. It shows children that marriage isn't simply about ourselves and what we want - respect and compromise are important qualities for a lasting, healthy relationship.

kjbug... kjbugsmom1517

I think as long as there rnt any names being called or abuse its perfectly fine. We rarely fight but when we "spat" it seems to be when a kid is in the house. We cant be perfect all the time and showing kids that adults disagree is something they should see. The line is drawn for me at anything disrespectful. Which if ur in a respectful relationship it carrys over to fights too.

redK8... redK8blueSt8

LIke you said, "we disagree, we argue, we make up", the third one is the most important for your kids to see when they see the first two!! Sure fire way to screw a kid up is for them to be witness to the fight and never see the resolve or make up.  It is good for kids to see that two people can disagree and not desolve into name calling, belittling, disrespecting, and hateful spatting. It's also beyond valuable to see their parents appologise to each other, be kind, loving, and resolve the disagreement.

Amand... Amanda0712

My husband and I try out hardest to not fight in front of our kids. We do have the occasional disagreement in front of them.



In my first marriage, we fought all the time. We separated when the kids were 4 and 6. When I told my older son that his dad and I were not going to live together anymore, he responded with, "good. Now you and dad won't fight anymore."

That was a huge wake up call for me. I always knew we shouldn't be fighting in front of them. But it didn't hit me until that moment.



I have learned from my mistakes. I think we are doing a good job. My oldest son now tells people that my husband and I never fight.

nonmember avatar mandyg

@eupeptic, actually, I don't think a "civil discussion" is what Kristen is talking about. I'm not sure if you meant to be quite so condescending, but that's how your comment comes across.

I too came from a family that never fought until a few explosions, but my parents were also not close. Like two people agreeing to share space generally by ignoring the other.

My husband and I are not in an ideal marriage and we both end up fighting too much. It stresses out the kids... absolutely. However, I think we are getting better. Are we a perfect pairing, probably not. Will we ever "never fight", probably not. Forward movement though, and lots of love between the fights.

nonmember avatar melmcl

My parents rarely ever fought in front of the kids so I honestly didn't know how to settle a disagreement with my husband. My hubby grew up with fighting all the time. We try to talk things out, but if we argue and our son in the in area, we don't shoo him away. But, we always want him to see that yelling once in a while isn't a big deal, but not resolving your issues is.

derik... deriksmom

disagreement is okay. they need to know how to handle settle these types of things civil. i don't know what to do when my husband's ex though screams at him in front of the kids on skype (which is a form of visitation) calling him all types of names. encourage him to not respond, but i feel they will believe her as they live with her. arguing never accomplish anything

catng... catngabsmom

yep!!! my girls see my husband and i fight/argue/bicker/disagree, but they also see us rationally discuss, have fun, find solutions, joke back and forth, enjoy our time together, support each other, etc. I am raising my girls in the real world where emotions, problems and solutions exist, if the never see the many faces of marriage and relationships, how else will they learn what a healthy and unhealthy relationship is?

Heath... Heather2001

I completely agree.

nonmember avatar Liz

I grew up with parents that had major arguements/fights and often had to call the police.. I'm 33 years old and I still have nightmares about it..

If kids can see you disagree slightly maybe..but nothing major..I don't want my son growing up with same issues I have. I have been to counseling about it i my adult life.. still have nightmares...

I found out way more than parents thought i did by hearing arguments, fights, etc. way more than i think a child should have known about adult life..

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