Posted: Jan 28, 2013 10:00 AM
 
When we polled our readers about arguing in front of kids, the results were clear: Many parents fight in front of kids. Hear from real moms about arguing and how to set healthy limits.

Few relationships exist without the occasional fight. Add in major sources of stress like financial issues and household tasks, and you have a recipe for turmoil. Everyone agrees that fighting in front of your kids isn't ideal, but how often do you slip? We polled our readers and found that the responses were split surprisingly evenly.

"We have the occasional squabble"

We argue in front of the kids, sometimes loudly, but I wouldn't classify them as fights.

The occasional squabblers clocked in at 36 percent of respondents. "We argue in front of the kids, sometimes loudly, but I wouldn't classify them as fights," says Jen O. It's easy to escalate into an argument or disagreement if you have adult conversations in front of your kids. Even if you argue only occasionally, commit to keeping the disagreements civil. If you find that your occasional arguments are overly heated, consider setting limits to what you talk about in front of your children. You may all benefit from saving heated conversations for after bedtime or during school hours.

"Never, we keep a lid on it until later"

Makes it too easy for them to manipulate us!

When it came to never fighting, 27 percent of the parents we polled said that they keep a lid on it. "We rarely even disagree in front of them," says Theresa Cano. "Makes it too easy for them to manipulate us!" Does this mean arguing doesn't happen in less obvious ways? Not necessarily. Caroline Jorgenson says that she and her spouse don't argue in front of the kids. "But we may vent things like, ‘your mom likes to be late' or ‘your dad buys you junk food,' and then they repeat it," Jorgenson says. If you don't argue in front or your kids, be aware of the ways in which you work things out. Give yourself space to disagree and work on your issues, even if it's not in front of the little ones. Bottling it in won't benefit either of you, and won't teach your kids how to work out conflicts.

"Of course, we're only human"

No name calling, cursing, shrieking or bringing up of too scary topics.

The parents who admitted to arguing in front of the kids tied the occasional squabblers at 36 percent of respondents. Keep in mind that fighting in front of the kids isn't always bad. "We do disagree," says Jonna Rubin, "because I think it's important to teach Sam that people who love each other can argue but still work it out constructively." It may also help to set ground rules if you know you and your partner have a tendency to argue in front of the kids. Maggie May Ethridge uses this method. "No name calling, cursing, shrieking or bringing up of too scary topics," she says. When you argue in front of your children, focus on the resolution and quickly calming situations that get out of hand. Never disparage your partner or argue disrespectfully. Remember that arguing does not mean violence and that violence is never acceptable.

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