Fighting with your partner does affect your child. It doesn’t matter if it’s a loud argument or “the silent treatment.” And even if you ask your child to step out of the room, if he could still hear you, it’s just the same as witnessing it firsthand.
Out of consideration for your child, the best way to have discussions with your spouse is “out of sight, and out of hearing.”
If your little one witnesses your fight—whether it’s a shouting match, a heated discussion, or not being on speaking terms (a.k.a. “ignoring each other”)—remember that it’s always best to explain things to him than to pretend nothing happened.
1. First, apologize to your child for letting him witness your fight. Second, explain the issue at a level your child can understand. Use broad explanations only, in a language that’s appropriate to your child’s age.
When explaining, always preserve the child’s respect for your partner (who is, after all, his parent!). Admit that you’re both at fault for having that argument, and that, as parents and adults, you should have discussed the issue in a calmer manner.
Finally, promise that you will resolve things in a better way in the future. Most importantly: Follow through on your promise. Arguing with your partner makes both of you “poor role models for problem solving and conflict resolution” to your child.
Even if you tell him to do what’s right, your example is still what he will follow, and not what you say.
If you feel you need support on this, find seminars that teach conflict resolution skills, or consult with a professional to help you with your specific issues.
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