There are a lot of things that affect your child, which may not strike you at the first thought. As parents, you may think that fighting between yourselves in a closed room would save your child from being a witness to what’s happening. However, the actual situation is quite different.
It is unrealistic to expect couples to not fight at all. But the kind of fight and the way you resolve the fight is very important. If your fights are physically or verbally abusive, or you resort to the silent treatment, it goes without saying that it would impact your child adversely. Children tend to watch and learn from their parents.
Which means that when they grow older, they would treat their relationships in the same way as yours. This is especially true when the children idolize one of their parents. Constant fighting has a mental impact on children that shows as they grow older. They would find it easier to shut down mentally after watching the constant fighting and getting them to open up emotionally again would be a task. This would also show in their relationships with other people and their social comfort. If fights tend to be abusive, your child may resort to violence when faced with an unfavourable situation.
Girls and boys also react to fights in a very different way. Boys usually tend to shut out the fight and use denial as a coping measure, while girls usually get involved in the fight and try to resolve it.
One way you can handle fights properly is to teach your child that there is nothing wrong with a little disagreement now and then. It is always better to fight and sort it out rather than pretend everything's okay while it’s not. This does not mean that you don’t love your partner, their other parent any longer. While fighting, make sure to still be leaning towards the respectful side.
Counting to ten and talking it out instead of screaming and throwing things is a good first step. Even if you fight outside, your child can pick up on hints that you are your partner are not getting along anymore. This may lead them to blame themselves for the conflict. Instead, acknowledge that there has been some disagreement so your child knows you trust them enough to tell them the truth. If you feel your child is emotionally mature enough to get involved, ask them for their opinion on the situation.
Finally, resolving your fight will teach your child that even the worst problems can be solved with compassion and a certain amount of compromise.
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