Do you argue / disagree in front of your kids?

?? - posted on 09/15/2010 ( 23 moms have responded )

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I posted this on another forum, I thought I'd post it here to see what others have to say about it too.



My parents never hid that they were having an argument. They didn't yell or FIGHT or talk bad about each other in front of us, but they never hid that they were "having a discussion."



My friends parents NEVER let their children see that they were anything but happy. They would fake it if they had too. The children were convinced their parents were in complete bliss.



Both of our parents separated. My family, saw it coming and we (as a family) had minimal issues adjusting to the situation. My friends family, went absolutely crazy with despair and heart break.



Do you argue, or disagree, or even fight in front of your kids, or do you hide it? Which situation do you think is harder or easier for the kids? And why?

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Amie - posted on 09/15/2010

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We will not argue in front of the kids. Ever. We do disagree but people disagree on a daily basis.

Disagreeing and arguing are two very different things. Disagreeing in front of children does show them conflict resolution skills, however, we need to be careful on what we're disagreeing on.

For instance, When my husband and I disagree with a consequence for one of our children we never talk about it in front of them. We send them out of the room or tell them to stay there while we go talk. We do not need them to hear which one of us wants to be more lenient at that point. It could (and have seen it happen) come about that the child knows which parent to try and manipulate after hearing these types of disagreements over time. It doesn't always work but some parents are oblivious to the way their kids pull at them in certain ways.

Arguing is a whole other spectrum, no one should argue in front of their kids. They do get heated and children, whether intentional or not, tend to pick sides if they see it over and over. Which can last a life time. My husband still favors his mother, even though they're both a couple of retards when it comes to their issues.
My parents disagreed but never once argued in front of us. When they separated it came as no surprise. We saw it coming because our parents were open with us. They just chose to keep the heated, adult, situations between themselves. Which is where it belongs.

A balance can be found without involving the children and without keeping them oblivious to everything going on. It's up to each family to find that balance within themselves.

If people want to argue in front of their kids, I really don't care. That's their decision but I have yet to see a good reason for it.

My definition of arguing and disagreeing may differ though from others. My husband and I disagree on a lot of things, we do not argue about all that much though.

[deleted account]

I don't think we can shelter our children from everything....they need SOME sense of reality. Life isn't perfect - people have disagreements and they need to understand that.

I remember my parents arguing when I was younger....they've been married now for 36 years.

I think the level of arguing is extremely important. Once or if it escalates into yelling etc I think it's best to agree to disagree at that point and resume the discussion when the kids are out of earshot. While we don't want to shelter them, we do need to be careful of what we say and how we argue in front of them. They're going to have conflict at some point and if all they've ever seen is mom and dad screaming and yelling at each other, what do you want to bet that's how they'll end up reacting?!! The other thing to be careful of is how the children are interpreting what you're arguing about. Kids have a tendency to put their own spin on things.

Lindsay - posted on 09/15/2010

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I don't think it's appropriate to argue in front of kids. Sure they hear us disagree but it's on pretty mild topics like me asking him not to pick up so much junk food from the store or him asking me not to take on too much (we could have been the entertainers of the year last year...). But if we actually have an argument, it's usually to do with the kids or extended family or just merely more grown up situations. They are things that the kids don't need to hear, even if there is no yelling or name calling involved. They are typically in depth discussions that need to be had without interruption and are things that the kids don't need to know about or be bothered with.



Now as far as the original theory that the kids that heard the fighting were less shocked or upset about a separation/divorce...my thinking would be that they were just glad the fighting was over. No one wants to live in a house with fighting all of the time.

Tah - posted on 09/15/2010

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My parents have been married for over forty years they are now in their sixties and i have never heard anything but a "okay Bill, we will discuss it later"..and when they came back later YOU were in trouble, because they were a united front..lol...in 29 years i haven't seen a fight..with 10 children and countless family members in and out the house, i am sure they have argued, i have never seen it. If my husband and I are have a tiff, we don't have it in front of the children..now we joke in front of the children, like no get your own plate do i look your mama...as i'm making his plate of course..lol...but if it is a serious conversation we need to have we take it upstairs and we never stay mad. I think it is important that children feel secure and that the parents don't fight in front of them, children know their parents fight, or argue..but they don't need to see it..



and you ladies are correct, a discussion is one thing but a argument or fight is another, and we don't argue really anyway, but yes serious discussions or things that need to be talked out are done away from the children...

LaCi - posted on 09/15/2010

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Well, we don't fight. We do disagree, and we'll bicker or debate something regardless of who is around. We never yell at each other or anything, haven't done that since my little ppd problem. ;)

People argue. I argue a lot. It's life, he might as well learn to argue now, he'll be doing it for the rest of his life. Hell, we're all on debate boards because we find pleasure in arguing.

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Sharon - posted on 09/16/2010

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We don't hide disagreements. We try to not argue in front of the kids but if I feel I need to be forceful about it in front of them, I will. Especially I'm defending the kids or backing them up.

[deleted account]

Just an aside, my parents have (and still do) argued in front of me and my brother. Nothing over the top like screaming at each other but definitely more than a little disagreement. That doesn't bother me and I don't remember being bothered by it when I was younger. For them, what is concerning is when they arn't speaking at all. That's when I know it's something serious. They've been married for 33 years.

Sarah - posted on 09/16/2010

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I don't think you should argue in front of children. Not always easy, but we do try.



A "discussion" is fine, but a full out argument, or a discussion about something involving the kids themselves, should be done away from them IMO.



My parents divorced (twice!! lol) most of the time, they kept their arguments private, but not always.

I was quite young the first time they divorced, so I don't really remember what they were like. My sister has told me that she could hear them shouting and screaming though, while she was in bed.

The 2nd time I was 10, so I remember more. I remember them shouting while I was in bed, I remember a few instances of them shouting with me in the room. I remember one instance of my Dad throwing a plate at my Mum. So I wasn't entirely shocked when my Mum decided to leave.



Would it have been harder if I'd thought everything was rosy between them? Who knows? I think it would have been more of a shock, but then I wouldn't have had to see/hear some of the things I did, which I think could only be a good thing. I think it was probably harder to hear and see the fights to be honest, but as I said, I'll never know for sure.



I will try my hardest to not argue in front of the kids, it has happened though, but it's not something I've ever been comfortable with. Kids should be able to be kids, not sat there worrying about whether Mummy and Daddy still love each other (and them) any more. :)

C. - posted on 09/16/2010

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My parents RARELY argued in front of us, just b/c they didn't think it was right to fight (argue) in front of children.



I believe it isn't right to argue in front of children, too. I have seen many family friends who fought in front of their children and their friends (including us at times) and their children are a little messed up in the head regarding relationships and the parents have since split up. That's not to say that it would happen to everyone who does argue in front of their kids, but I'm not exactly willing to take that chance.



Have I done it? Yes. I've even done it as recently as earlier today, but then again the hormones could have something to do with my going off on my husband and starting arguments at the moment.



Do I plan to continue this behavior? No. I love my son and I love my husband. I feel that if you argue with your spouse in front of your kids, it's pretty demeaning and disrespectful. Something that I DEFINITELY need to be working on right now. I don't want my son to grow up thinking I don't love his daddy or that I don't appreciate everything he has done for the both of us. And I definitely don't want my son to resent me OR his dad for anything. It's just not something that I want to do in front of him.



I think arguing in front of the children would be harder for them to deal with. I mean, who really wants to hear their parents arguing about something??

[deleted account]

We don't actually fight. We debate, we disagree but we don't really argue. We're pretty frank with each other. If he's being a dick, I tell him. But it's generally in a joking kind of way.

I don't think you should have a full blown screaming match in front of your children but I don't think you should hide disagreements either. Children sense when things aren't right. I think it's also educational for the children to see that you may disagree but you can work it out.

ME - posted on 09/15/2010

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We disagree in front of Miles...I don't think that its appropriate to show your children an ideal world that doesn't really exist...

Rosie - posted on 09/15/2010

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we disagree, but if it starts to turn into an argument then we stop, and do it later. i don't want my kids hearing our arguments because our arguments are ALWAYS about them. if we disagree about something else, then yeah we talk about it in front of them. we don't yell, it's just not our style. every now and then like 5 times in 9 years, lol, we have yelled and gotten pissy, but we really don't get to crazy.
i think kids need to see how to handle conflict and the appropriate way to do it. however some conflict that involves them, and decision about them, i don't feel they need to hear or take part in until we can agree on certain things.

Nikki - posted on 09/15/2010

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I agree with Kate, I wan't my child to understand that people do have arguments at times but it can be handled in a constructive way. I will never yell or swear at my husband in front of my child.

I remember my parents fighting when I was little, I have one memory in particular where I was hiding behind the door, they were both screaming and mum was crying, it really traumatised me, still to this day it makes me feel uncomfortable when I think about it, so I don't want my child to remember thing like that. Mind you my parents are still happily together, they were obviously just having a bad day!

Stifler's - posted on 09/15/2010

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We don't fight much. If we did we probably wouldn't fight and swear and call each other names in front of the kids. We would definitely not hide the fact that we were disagreeing on issues or whatever.

?? - posted on 09/15/2010

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I know, Dana, it is sad. In a way I think my parents did the same thing, they waited until all of us were out of the house before they separated, but they never really kept it a secret that they weren't happy. They just kept 'trying' to make it work, while we were still there. Once we were all out of the house - actually my youngest sister was still living there, but was in the process of moving to Abbotsford with our brother - they decided they were done trying. And even then they both occupy the same house. They have their agreement for bills, space and all of that crap, and my dad works away from home, (he left in June and will be gone until at least Christmas,) they are just legally separated.

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That's sad, Jo.....that happened to a friend of mine from highschool. They also lived next door. Her parents lived what looked to be a blissful life and then BAM, seperated after she graduated highschool and got a divorce. Apparently they were living in "silent misery" while she grew up. How is that fair to them or her?

?? - posted on 09/15/2010

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My friends knew that their parents didn't ALWAYS agree, that's just silly. They knew that their parents disagreed with things, but they had absolutely no idea that they were that miserable, that they felt they needed to separate.

They never showed any signs what so ever of ever fighting, they only ever saw that their parents 'worked it out' and 'talked about it' and that everything was honky dory. Just to find out that nothing was alright, they would fight behind closed doors and then one day, BOOM, Dad was moving out.

September - posted on 09/15/2010

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We don't fight or yell in front of our son but we do disagree in front of our son. What a disservice that would be to our son if he thought we never disagreed and lived a life of pure bliss. It's not a reality and it's not a reality for most people. I think that it's best for our son to know that people do disagree in life. I also feel that it's important for our son to know that although we may disagree at times we are always able to compromise.

Tara - posted on 09/15/2010

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Discussing is one thing, fighting and arguing is another. My ex thought it was fine for the kids to see/hear us fighting, arguing, him raising his voice and yelling at me, him telling me not to talk etc. etc. as long as they saw us happy the next day. His reasoning was that as long as they see a resolution it's okay.
I disagreed. Not just cause it felt wrong to do those things in front of them, but also cause I didn't want them growing up thinking it was okay to act that way when you had a disagreement.
So... I tried to keep it civil in front of them, that made him mad. We would end up just not talking at all for days. Which was worse for the kids cause it was like tension city in our house.
I think talking and disagreeing is fine, as long as it is done respectfully and with the intent of resolving an issue rather than escalating an argument.
My kids were relieved when it was all over, although they had a hard time adjusting to mom and dad living in separate houses, they were glad the yelling and tension was over with.
One day not long ago my 10 year old daughter asked me why her step dad and I don't fight. I told her we have disagreements but we talk about them. She said "Huh, I thought parents just yelled at each other when they were mad". and then "why doesn't Steve ever slam doors or stomp around the house?"
me: "cause he's a grown up."
lol
She knows that what happened between her dad and I is not the way it should be and I/we have now given her a better example of what a trusting and respectful relationship is like. In doing that we have made all the kids feel safer in their home. They know what to expect from us as parents/adults.
Ironically they mimic this behaviour within their own relationships.

Krista - posted on 09/15/2010

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I think it's fine for kids to see you having a disagreement or a discussion, and then coming to a resolution. It shows them that even if you disagree, and even if you're angry with someone, you still love them and you just keep going after you've made up. Obviously if it gets to the point where the kids look distressed, you say, "Okay -- this is getting a bit too heated right now. Why don't we all calm down and we can discuss it again later?"

Kate CP - posted on 09/15/2010

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I want to teach my daughter HOW to fight with her husband/partner. So many people do it the wrong way: they name call, bring up past offenses that have nothing to do with the current situation, and TRY to hurt each other. That's not how you should argue with your significant other! I argue with my husband in front of my daughter. If it gets too heated I'll tell him we both need to cool off and come back to this later so we're not hurting our child. I watched my parents argue as a kid and it showed me how to properly argue with my husband and not cause a huge fight with both of us screaming and crying.

Jenni - posted on 09/15/2010

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I think hiding an argument isn't beneficial to our kids. Our children will encounter many situations in life where they will disagree with someone. It is important to teach them the respectful and responsible way to handle a disagreement.
It's not always easy in the heat of the moment or with an issue we feel passionate about to remain cool, collected and respectful when arguing. But we always have to be aware that our children are watching and learning and we need to try our best to set a good example. If you do act inappropriately in your argument i think it's appropriate to talk to your kids after and tell them where you were wrong. "Mom, shouldn't have yelled at Dad when we were arguing. That was wrong."
Maybe making your children aware that just because you argue doesn't mean you care any less about that person. It is impossible for any two people to agree on everything. Making a point of showing the two of you making up once the argument is resolved would also be helpful to cement the fact that you still love each other.
I feel that pretending to be happy when your not isn't the best thing to teach your children. I'm sure all of us want our children, above all, to be happy in life. By pretending we're happy when were not you are teaching your kids to do the exact same thing. When they grow up and find themselves in a relationship they may learn it's normal to stay in that relationship even if they're not happy.

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