Do You Argue In Front Of Your Kids?

Written by James Kicinski-McCoy
1:31 pm
09/19/14

Image via Shutterstock

Family specialists and physiologists often warn that parents should never argue in front of their kids. And, sure, we agree that you probably shouldn’t have a heated exchange with yelling and name calling at the dinner table, and that arguing in front of the kids on a regular basis isn’t a good thing. But, we also think that disagreements with the people you love is natural, which has us wondering: Could arguing in front of your children be a good thing?

Afterall, people disagree—parents, partners, brothers and sisters, friends, colleagues—they all have differences of opinion from time to time. It’s human nature, and if we are being honest with ourselves, most of us have had the occasional quarrel in front of other people, even our offspring. So, here’s why we think having simple disagreements in front of the kids (sparingly, of course) could be a good way to teach our children about healthy relationships…

  • Even the most madly in love couples are going to disagree from time to time. There is just no such thing as a quarrel-free relationship. Our question is, if parents never argue in front of their children, how will the kids know how to deal with conflict in their own relationships as the grow?
  • It’s possible to have a respectful argument. If parents can have a disagreement in front of their kids without yelling, without criticism, and with mutual respect, some psychologists say it can be healthy. Teaching by example is a huge part of being a parent, whether it be using manners, picking up after ourselves, or treating people with kindness. If parents are able to argue while communicating calmly, openly, and honestly, and without placing blame, it could encourage healthy future relationships in children. These are tools that all kids—young or old—need.
  • Recognizing when a spat is turning into something more is key. We have all had squabbles big and small, and there are occasions when little things turn into serious conflict. These are the times when it’s best to keep the conversation away from the kids. Agreeing to disagree for the time being and continuing the discussion behind closed doors is good parenting.
  • Conflicts get resolved. We often hear about parents fighting in front of their children, but how many times do we hear about parents making up in front of them? Witnessing a respectful exchange and then a resolution or a compromise could be a positive thing for the kids to see. Let them see you kiss and make up, it’s healthy.

Of course, this is a topic that has varying opinions by parents and professionals, and we can see both sides. So, we want to know what you think? Is it okay to argue in front of the kids sometimes? Keep the discussion going in the comments below.

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