Parental Conflict and Its Effects on Children (page 2)

Parental Conflict and Its Effects on Children

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Updated on Dec 2, 2011

“Conflict is an opportunity for a couple to work on themselves, as a couple and as individuals…Too much conflict incapacitates the marriage, but a little bit of conflict is a good thing. A little bit of anxiety is a good thing; a little bit of guilt is a good thing too. Conflict is a message from within the marriage to improve communication and to get their act together.”

In addition, it’s healthy for children to watch parents communicate with each other to settle an argument, assuming that it’s done in a caring and effective way.

Any of these behaviors sound familiar? Here are some steps you can take to reduce disagreements with your partner:

  • Compromise whenever the issue does not revolve around an issue that you feel is absolutely nonnegotiable, like safety. This doesn’t make you a pushover; it just means that you’re willing to pick your battles and avoid a constant war zone.
  • Visit a marital counselor to try to work things out.
  • Attend a parenting class together with your spouse, especially if the conflict is related to differing parenting styles.
  • Communicate using “I” messages. Instead of using the word “you,” such as “You messed up,” or “You make me feel so upset,” begin with “I”: “I am feeling frustrated. I don’t like it when you…”
  • Keep your disagreements away from the kids. If you must disagree, realize that doing so in front of the children almost guarantees that the situation will generate some of the negative repercussions discussed in this article.
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