Do you and your significant other argue in front of your children? Do you and your significant other have all arguments behind closed doors away from the children? Which method is best?
Both can be beneficial. If the argument or area of disagreement involves the topic of the children then those conversations are usually best had behind closed doors so that children do not feel they are the reason/cause of the fighting. However, other topics can be discussed in front of the children…with some guidelines. Important tips for parents to remember are:
1) No name calling or foul language
2) No physical aggression or threat of aggression
3) Come to a solution (even if the solution is to agree to disagree)
Handling conflict in a safe, healthy way in front of the children helps to teach children how to handle conflict in positive ways. Even when we do not intend to model behaviors for our children, we are still modeling behaviors. Some parents begin an argument in front of the children and then decide to discuss it later behind closed doors. The unfortunate outcome of this scenario is that the children are not able to see the conflict resolved, they only see the conflict and thus we are not teaching them to come to a resolution. Many children think that the conflict simply “went away” and never see the compromise or cooperation that went into the resolution. Be sure that opposition at your house provides as many positive opportunities as possible to learn conflict resolution, cooperation, and compromise.
“Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.”
— James Baldwin
“To bring up a child in the way he should go, travel that way yourself once in a while.”
— Josh Billings