How Arguments Affect Your Children

Many parents make the mistake of believing their children are too young or naive to absorb spats with their other half. Yet, they could understand much more than you think, and the argument could take its toll on their health. 

It’s also likely you can recall your own parents arguing and how it made you feel, such as sad, helpless or scared. The last thing you will want is for them to experience the same feelings, which could cast a shadow over a fantastic childhood. Continue reading to find out how arguments can affect your children. 

Conflict Mimicking 

Children often learn about relationships by observing their parents’ dynamic. If your son or daughter watches or listens to constant arguments, they could eventually believe that arguing is the only way to resolve a conflict. It cannot only lead to naughty behavior at home, but it could also determine how they approach disagreements with partners in adulthood. 

Feelings of Guilt 

Arguments can affect your children in different ways, but one of the biggest feelings they could experience is guilt. A counsellor will be the first to tell you that conflict is often a triangle that’s formed by a perpetrator, a victim, and a rescuer. When a perpetrator attacks a victim, a witness will want to help the victim. If your child watches an argument, they will likely want to stop an argument but they won’t know how to do so. As a result, a child might struggle with guilt, as they are unable to resolve a conflict.  

parents arguing


Conflicts can also force children to grow up rather quickly, so they might feel as if their childhood was robbed from them. While the small spats might have seemed harmless to parents, their children could resent them in adulthood and could prevent families from maintaining a strong bond. 

A Cynical Attitude 

If arguments frequently occur between you and your partner, your children will view resolutions as temporary. As they will wait for an argument to occur within the home, they might become cynical about relationships, as they might believe a spat will occur in a matter of time. As a result, they might self-sabotage when in an adult relationship, as they might not want to enter a serious relationship to avoid being hurt. Alternatively, they might hurt their partner to avoid being hurt themselves. 

Different Responses for Boys and Girls 

Research has found that boys and girls will respond differently to their parents’ arguments. It is believed boys will often develop behavioural problems while girls could experience emotional issues. However, both boys and girls could cause them to worry about the arguments becoming worse in time or their parents splitting up. 

How to Stop Arguing in Front of Children 

As you can see, arguments can affect your children in various ways, from feeling guilty for not helping a parent to developing a cynical attitude towards relationships in adulthood. While arguments can happen in relationships, and can sometimes be healthy, you should avoid spats in front of your children, if possible. 

You also could teach your kids how to resolve conflict in relationships by aiming to be a good role model in your own partnership. For example, you should learn how to compromise, respect your spouse’s boundaries, or to put your differences aside. 

If, however, you are in an abusive relationship, you shouldn’t hesitate to contact the National Domestic Abuse Helpline on the following freephone number: 0808 2000 247. Help is available for both you and your children – you just need to ask for it. 

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1 Response

  1. 02/05/2021

    […] Their parents arguing or fighting  […]