Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Do Argue in Front of the Kids (The Right Way)

posted by Michele Olson

Not in front of the children!” can often be heard as a comment from an arguing spouse. That may not be the best answer if you can disagree and solve the conflict in a positive way in front of your kids. Researchers at University of Notre Dame did some experiments to test what is happening to kids when they are seeing a marital spat. The kid’s level of cortisol, the primary hormone produced by stress, was tested for over 20 years.

As reported on Good Morning America, kids watched actors portraying parents in an arguing state. They seemed to be far less disturbed by the argument if there was a sincere effort to resolve the issue in a positive manner. Kids were happy to see the parents work it out.

The message also comes through: you can disagree, still love each other, and go about your day.

Another finding which should not come as a surprise; children are acutely attuned to the quality of their parent’s relationship. It was also interesting to learn that the typical married couple has about eight disputes a day. Children witnessed these 45% of the time. Even children as young as a year old were sensitive to the temperature of their parent’s relationship.

The key is using disagreements in front of the children to teach them how a conflict can be resolved in a good way. If you are a couple who fights and you don’t reach a positive resolution, even if you don’t fight right in from of the kids…they can sense the tension in the home. If you fight in front of the kids and don’t resolve the conflict in a positive manner, you are causing high stress levels in your children. Take the time to learn how to resolve conflicts in a positive way. At, we teach skills on how to resolve conflicts and have positive communication in a relationship. Take advantage of our learn opportunities or seek out proven programs that teach communication and conflict resolution.

Make the time to learn how to disagree as a couple. It has a huge impact on your children.
Do you have a story to share on this subject?


M. Denise Wilmer Barreto said...

Love this! We have seen evidence of this in our own family.

My kids can be overheard saying to one another - "we can work this out now let's try looking at this differently" and they are 8 and 4. Why are they like that, you may wonder...

Because my husband and I make a point to honor different point of views when attacking a conflict and we strive to show that we genuinely care for one another even when we disagree.

Not only is the good modeling for our kids for their future marital relationship but for all relationships they have as they move through life.

It is a treasured gift to be able to resolve conflict positively.

Thanks for the post. said...

Thanks M for the comment and showing us how it is working in your life. It is a great gift we can give to our children that doesn't cost any dollars, but it's priceless!