Arguing Like A Role Model: How To Keep Your Kids From Worrying When You Disagree With Your Spouse
Even the best couples have the occasional fight or disagreement, and some couples manage to remain happy together despite fighting like cats and dogs. Children, however, can mix up your normal conflict resolution habits. Instead of fighting like you always did, which may scare the kids, use these techniques to help solve problems without making them worry.
Keep Love In The Conversation
When children are young, they can easily mistake a heated argument between you and your partner for a sign that you don't love each other anymore. This can be incredibly upsetting and confusing for your child, who may start to worry over even the occasional minor disagreements you have with your spouse. A great way to alleviate this anxiety is for each of you to remind the other that they are loved during arguments. This can be as simple as using pet names or holding hands while you discuss things.
During a heated argument, try to slow down the discussion so you can keep things civil. Listen attentively to your partner and give your side of the issue in a respectful way. Work together with your partner to compromise. This can reduce the chances of getting into a worse fight, and will give your child a good impression of how adults handle disagreements. After the argument is over, it's a good idea to hug or kiss your partner to show your kid that it's possible to resolve problems without holding a grudge.
Follow The Rules Of Engagement
No matter how angry you get, you have to be careful when arguing in front of your kid. Discuss ground rules with your partner for how to handle disputes, and make sure to abide by these rules as much as possible. Having a routine for handling issues between you and your partner will not only keep things from getting too heated, but also help speed the discussion along.
For starters, avoid calling one another names, yelling, making violent or intimidating motions, and bringing up sensitive adult topics when the kids are present. If you break one of these rules during an argument, it's important to offer your partner a heartfelt apology in front of your children. You should also sit your child down and explain that being mean during an argument isn't okay, even if an adult does it, but that everyone makes mistakes sometimes.
Even at your worst, you and your partner are still setting the example for your children. Helping young kids understand that you can love someone and disagree with them is an important part of being a parent, and so is instilling a sense of love and respect. The next time you and your spouse get into a disagreement, you can head off unnecessary worries by trying some of these gentler arguing techniques in front of the kids. Contact Drake Counseling Services for more information on couples counseling.