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Teaching Kids to Fight Fair

By: Krystle Crossman

When you have an argument with a significant other you make sure to do it away from the kids most of the time right? Well now depending on what your fights are like, you may not be doing your children a favor. New research is showing that fighting in front of your kids in a constructive way can actually help them to become more emotionally secure and help to teach them how to problem-solve.

What is constructive arguing? This is when the parents can work out a problem without calling each other names, without using foul language, without pointing fingers and blaming one another for the problem. They are raising their voices but are trying to work things without going down a negative road. If children see their parents screaming at each other and calling each other names they will take that with them and end up doing that when they are in an argument with friends and classmates. This can get them into a lot of trouble. But if they see their parents really trying to figure out a solution to the problem together, this is how they will act themselves.

There are some experts that maintain that there is no such thing as a healthy fight or one that should be fought in front of kids. They feel that the parents should go into another room and duke it out because the hostility is there no matter how constructive they are being.

Other experts have a few tips on how to keep your fights from having negative consequences should your children be around when you are fighting:

– Make an “anger scale” from 1-10 so that the other spouse can tell how angry you are getting and can stop things before the situation blows up

– Look to your children for clues on how they are reacting. If they look like they are getting upset or uncomfortable it is better to either stop and continue when they aren’t around or move into a different room

– Keep the fights to a five minute maximum. After that, take a break and cool off, come back calmly and talk it out

– Don’t use the silent treatment. Studies have shown that this is one of the worst possible things for children to see

– Make sure that you keep certain topics off limits such as relationship issues or parenting decisions

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