How To Help Your Kids When You Hear Them Say “Mom & Dad Are Fighting Again”?
We all want happy marriages, with no fighting and a calm atmosphere. Ordinary anyway, from time to time, parents disagree and argue about home chores, money, or essential decision-making influencing family daily. There are times when you don’t see eye to eye on issues and fight about issues. You may try to fight quietly, but your kids are always paying attention to whether or not mom or dad are fighting. Parents sometimes disagree but can manage to talk with calmness listening to each other respectfully.
Why Do My Mom and Dad Always Fight?
Your kids may state, “Mom and dad are fighting again” or ask, “Why do mom and dad fight?” Children usually say what’s on their minds and might ask you uncomfortable questions. It’s important to answer their questions and respond to these statements. By responding, you can reassure them that you love or care about each other, and you will forgive each other and apologize for the mistake. You want to answer your child with age-appropriate answers so they can understand why you are fighting. In scenario parents argue, kids are typically kept worrying.
Parents might air their argument angrily that can scare or upset kids. However, an argument can be articulated silently, like parents acting angrily and not talking. All these actions can be upsetting the kids. Kids might be tempted to think their parents are arguing and fighting because of their fault. Though, the behavior of the parents is not closely related to kid’s faults
Is It Normal for Parents to Fight every day?
Possibly. Arguments do happen that are OK, but with a lot of love and understanding, which a family solves quickly. If your children ask about why you fight daily, you can explain that some parents fight daily and others fight weekly, and other parents never fight. You can explain that parents fight because of different factors such as different upbringing, values, beliefs, and opinions. Numerous arguments arise as a result of these differences.
Arguments couples hold may also be due to their upbringing. If one set of parents never saw fighting in their family of origin, they may lean toward less fighting. The reverse is also true. If the other parent saw fighting daily in their family of origin, they may lean toward fighting more. Parents may fight for different reasons such as emotional regulation, temperament, insecurities, extremely tired or hungry, or anger issues.
What Can You Do to Prevent Lasting Harm?
Ask yourself these questions if you fight in front of the kids:
- Does the tone stay respectful even when you disagree? If not, then what can you do to make your conversations more respectful. You don’t need to agree on everything, but you need to listen to each other’s opinions and ideas.
- Do voices stay at a calm level? If not, take a break if you think things may get heated. When you pause the conversation for at least 20 minutes, you have time to self-regulate and come back to the discussion more level-headed.
- Do you both find a way to express your wants and needs without “attacking” each other? Ask yourself, how can we create a win-win solution?
- Is the tone in your home generally one of warmth and support? If not, try 30 minutes a day to speak more kindly to your partner (don’t pick 2 am, though).
- Does your child see ample evidence of emotional generosity on both sides daily? If not, how can you both start giving more to each other and giving each other the benefit of the doubt?
- Do you make a point of “making up” in front of your child? So often in my practice, my clients will tell me that they remember their parents fighting, but when I ask about “making up,” saying I’m sorry and apologizing, they have no recollection of this part. The practice is essential because your children may see you fight, but you can also teach them to repair the situation and take better care of each other when you have disagreements.
- Are there at least five positive interactions for every negative interaction? This question is based on Dr. Gottman’s findings that successful couples have at least five positive interactions for every negative interaction. He found couples who were unhappy in their relationships had much greater negative to positive interactions.
- Are you fighting over the same issue over and over? Many couples fight about parenting styles, chores, intimacy, and money. With the right skills and tools, you don’t need to hear your kids repeatedly say, “Mom and Dad are fighting again.
We dream of a happy home with peace and tranquility, but that may not be a reality. You can talk to your kids so they understand the reasons for arguments and how to respond when they say, “mom and dad are fighting.”
Additional reading to support your relationship as you explore options for couples therapy and healing:
Lisa Rabinowitz, LCPC is a licensed counselor in Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, Vermont and Florida. She also works with international couples and expats. With her support, you can learn how to reduce stress and conflict in your relationship through an intensive marriage retreat or couples counseling. Reach out to Lisa for a 30-minute free private consultation today.