Fights between parents can leave lasting impressions on kids. Calm discussions about anything from the family finances to walking the dog can escalate into hideous screaming matches that may involve the entire family. Parents are upset for having let things get out of control, and distraught children want verification that Mom and Dad do, in fact, still love each other.
If you're wondering whether we've caught your family's Tuesday night fight on candid camera, you're certainly not alone. ParentSoup asked its users: "Do you fight with your spouse in front of your kids?" Sixty-seven percent said that they try not to argue in front of the kids, "but sometimes they know what's going on" anyway. Only 14 percent said that they never fight in front of their kids. The remaining 18 percent of those polled said they don't see the need to try to hide an argument here and there. What do you think? Here's what four Soupers had to say:
"Since my husband and I are quite different, we definitely have had some lively discussions," said Bbcooks4. "What's important is that my husband and I have respect for each other so we respect our varying opinions. Fighting is a bit different. We have fought in front of the kids, but we make sure that we make up in front of them as well. It's important for them to know that arguing is a part of life, and I think kids need to see some of it. They need to know that their parents can argue and then make up. I believe it teaches them how to deal with life, in the sense that reality isn't always sugarcoated."
Savcal agrees: "Kids need to learn that it is okay to disagree with people and that through talking, even through talking loudly, these disagreements can be worked out. I think it's good that kids have a 'realistic' view of their parents' marriage. Kids whose parents always hide their arguments or disagreements are led to believe their parents have a fairytale marriage that just doesn't exist. I'm not saying that parents should make a point to air all of their marital difficulties in front of the kids. But it's a healthy lesson to say 'Daddy and I have different views on this subject' or 'Mommy made me angry when she did this, but we are talking about it and I will be able to forgive her' or 'Daddy hurt my feelings, but he apologized and now all is okay.' It just shows that disagreements can be worked out through love, communication and cooperation."