Like any red-blooded human, parents are bound to disagree from time to time. I remember one time my parents had had an argument and all of us kids were unusually quiet. You could cut the tension with a knife. My parents don’t make it a habit to argue in front of us but once in a while, there are outbursts which always cause tension among us kids. On one such occasion, my mum laughed saying, “Do you think your dad and I are going to separate because of one argument?”
I don’t know about my siblings but whenever there’s any tension between my parents, I always think, ‘Will this be the day they call it quits?’ Blame it on today’s society where separations and divorces are one too many.
According to Psychology Today, children notice everything: the sneer or snide remark or silent treatment. They might not say anything but conflict in marriage affects their emotional wellbeing. They are left insecure, anxious, worried, sad, and, in extreme cases, depressed. This affects children from near infancy up to early adulthood.
Children adopt certain behaviours to numb with these feelings. They might start:
1. Throwing tantrums
2. Being unusually clingy
3. Refuse to go to school when previously they enjoyed it
4. Eating excessively
5. Overdoing it with the video games
6. Blaming themselves i.e. thinking that their behaviour is what pushed their parents to fight
7. Getting stressed because they feel they have to support their parents emotionally. This is especially bad when parents consciously or unconsciously turn to their children for emotional support.
A high conflict home is a toxic environment for children. Parents need to strive for a healthy relationship where disagreements are settled far away from the children. This will ensure children grow up in a peaceful home where they learn how to deal with conflict in a healthy manner.