When your beloved baby is born, you and your husband are over the moon and are ready to fight all the dragons that might even consider hurting your little angel. As the months and years go by, sometimes, parents don’t even notice how they themselves might turn into those dragons in the eyes of their children, whom they were so determined to protect.
How is this even possible? The thing is, when our kids see us fighting, their stress hormones rise up immediately, and it takes some time for them to reduce. In other words, they get really frightened.
Previous research assured that it was ok to argue in front of children if they see parents make up afterwards. However, the most recent neurological studies deny this statement.
Any relationship is impossible without a conflict. If dealt in a constructive way, without personal insults and uncontrolled yelling, conflicts can actually be very useful for your relationship, as they help its growth and development. And what children should learn from you is not how to hide your feelings when you’re angry or sad, but how to deal with those emotions in a safe way, and how to solve emerging conflicts.
Here are some fun ideas about teaching your kids about emotions.
For any child, parents symbolize security, and when grown-ups seem out of control, their world seems shaken. Children might have difficulty falling asleep, as it takes hours to diminish the stress hormones.
They can’t find comfort in their parents in this situation, and they are too little to deal with these emotions on their own, so there is nothing left for them to do but suppress their fear, which later transforms into anxiety and misbehavior.
As it’s impossible to avoid disagreement, the most important is how you handle the conflict. If you yell angrily at each other, you’re sending a message to your child that it’s a “grown up” way to deal with your emotions.
But if you manage to treat each other respectfully, resolve your problems calmly without resorting to personal insults, you’re giving them an example of a great conflict management for the future.
What if an argument has already happened? There is no need for panic. The risk of developing anxiety, caused by the constantly high level of stress hormones, comes from repeatedly experienced emotions of fear. So, try to avoid fighting in front of your children regularly, and if you do, it might be a sign for you and your partner to consider counseling.
So, of course, it’s completely normal to discuss your views in front of the children, but what you should do in advance is agree that if you start resorting to disrespect or yelling, you should postpone the fight until you’re behind the closed doors. In addition, make sure that children see public expression of your reconciliation by hugging, for example.
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This way, your little one can relax, knowing that no matter how heated the discussion can get, the parents are still capable of resolving any issue in a constructive way.
Source: Aha! Parenting.com