Hold that Thought! Let’s Go Have this Argument in Front of the Kids!
Nothing says a teaching experience like verbal warfare in front of your kids; all while being in the serene confines of your own home, right? Well, if you ask psychology professor Patrick Davies from the University of Rochester, he’d agree with you, but then he’d make one small correction to your assumption. Instead of peppering your significant other in front of the little ones with insults for bullets and personal jabs for missiles, he’d say that disagreements that are handled in “constructive ways” can be pretty solid learning opportunities for their kids. In addition to his endorsement of handling the disagreement in front of an audience comprised of your children, he’d tell you that kids who don’t see civilized discussions are “not well-equipped” to handling themselves tactfully in “inevitable conflict.”
I think this is a spectacular idea! Parental arguments in front of the kiddlings have always seemed to be taboo, but this makes a decent amount of sense to me. From experience in seeing, hearing, and taking part in more than my fair share disagreements (I’ll blame my being an English major for this issue), I’ve come to find that not only is absolutely everyone who ever breathes going to disagree on something or another, but that the majority of the time, it ends up getting a little out of hand. If parents can model a healthy way to handle disagreements, children will be better off in the end.
If parents can model a healthy way to handle disagreements, children will be better off in the end.
Some may say that they would be better off in arguing behind closed doors, protecting their children from any sort of harm from seeing their parents argue. They need to see how to discuss differences of opinion. They will be missing out on seeing how mom and dad argue in a respectful manner.
Despite this sounding somewhat beneficial and possibly like a pretty decent idea, the couple MUST handle their argument better than Tonya Harding handled her little tiff with Nancy Kerrigan: feelings need not be hurt; wardrobes need not be mocked; old issues need not be revisited; odorous breath need not be mentioned.
When it comes down to it, quit making low blows. Handle the disagreement like adults. Is it really relevant that your wife trashed the family dinner 2 ½ years ago because she misread tsp for tbsp when adding salt? Is it really necessary to slam your husband because he didn’t empty the diaper genie? Clean arguments yield clean results. Your kids may be somewhat uncomfortable with the argument scene, but if you discuss relatively weighty matters in a subdued tone and in a respectful manner, I think that future relationships for your children will be benefitted immensely.
Do you argue in front of the kids?