Impact of Parents Fighting in Front of Children


Domestic violence is a common feature in today’s time. It is a serious problem that affects individuals around the world. There is enough evidence to prove that children who witness domestic violence have psychosocial problems. Such children do not function well in society, and post-traumatic stress may be highly evident in them.

Negative Effect of Parents Fighting in Front of Kids

In every family, and between every husband and wife, there are disagreements. These when resolved peacefully, it is fine. If these squabbles escalate into big fights, it can leave a nasty impact on the children. So how does parents’ fighting affect a child? Listed below are some of the negative effects that children may have.

  1. Aggression:

Effects of fighting parents can be disastrous. Children after seeing their parents fighting and arguing start believing that that is the way to solve problems. Thus, they try to resolve their issues too, in the same way with everyone which results in failed relationships.

  1. Emotional Distress:

Parents physically fighting in front of the child cause emotional distress to the child. Witnessing regular fights between parents trigger negative emotions among children. This leads to insecurity in them. As a result of this insecurity, the children may suffer from several psychological problems like anxiety and depression.

  1. Failure In Relationships:

Children learn almost everything from their parents. Having seen their parents continuously fighting, they grow up learning the same. As a result, as adults, their relationship with their partners/spouse suffers. Some of them even avoid relationships with the fear of getting hurt.

  1. Health Problems:

Seeing their parents fight regularly may make them feel anxious, depressed and helpless. As a result, such children may stop eating or over-eat. They could suffer from a headache/stomach ache. They may even have trouble falling off to sleep at night. All of these could make the child lose weight or in some cases gain weight due to overeating. Such children may also suffer from several mental health problems or behavioural issues.

  1. Low Self Esteem:

Mixed feelings of shame, guilt, unworthiness, helplessness, and shame can take a toll on the child’s mental health. As a result, the child’s self-esteem suffers, and he is a failure in his future relationships, be it personal or professional.

  1. Unable To Concentrate On Studies:

The constant fights between his parents keep the child’s mind pre-occupied. He keeps on thinking about it and is unable to concentrate on his studies.


Signs Parents Arguments are Affecting Child

Parents arguing in front of child can prove to be detrimental to the overall development of the child. Listed below are few of the signs which tell that a child is affected by seeing his parents fight regularly.

  • The minute they see their parents arguing, they start crying.
  • On seeing their parents’ fight, they become absolutely quiet.
  • Insecurity creeps into their lives.
  • They mostly look scared seeing their parents shout and yell at each other.
  • Such children cannot get along and as such usually have fights with their peers.
  • They do not mingle with anybody and thus can be termed as unsocial.
  • They show signs of behavioural disorders.
  • They may start blaming themselves for the fights that take place between their parents.
  • They may show signs of depression.
  • They may fair poorly in their studies or even in the co-curricular activities.
  • Such children may prefer to be away from their parents.
  • They may often complain of headaches, stomach aches or some health issue to divert the parents’ attention elsewhere instead of fighting.

Things To Keep In Mind While Fighting In Front Of Your Child

It is certain that husband and wife have their share of arguments. However, these fights should not go to the extent of frightening the children. Read on for the list of things you should keep in mind while fighting in front of your child.

  1. The husband, as well as the wife, should refrain from calling each other names, they should not scream at each other and neither should they be threatening each other. In case the children see “out-of-control” rage in between the parents, it may set a bad example for the kids, and they may not do well in their future relationships.
  1. Disagreeing with your spouse about certain rules for the children is inevitable but make sure not to fight about it near your children.
  1. In a marriage, arguments are common but always try to avoid them or resolve them before it becomes a big issue.
  1. Avoid dragging the fight for a long time. Instead, resolve the issue with maturity and make sure to do it in front of your children. In this way, there will be a closure to the whole issue. Your kids will also learn from the experience that there can be disagreements between people, but there are ways to solve them.
  1. Parents mean everything for children. Their life revolves around them. Therefore both the parent is equally important to the child. Whenever the parents’ fight and the children are asked to take sides, they get torn between the two.
  1. After having an argument with your spouse in front of the children, make sure to assure them that they are not to be blamed for it. You have to make them understand that parents, at times, disagree with each other.
  1. Explain to your child that losing your temper was a mistake and that you may have said things that you did not mean.
  1. Avoid talking ill about any specific person/persons like your in-laws or your spouse’ friend during a heated exchange in front of your kids.

Conflict and disagreements are part of life. It is but normal to have differences with your spouse as long as you can constructively and amicably work it out. Parents need to realise and understand how much children are affected by the relationship between the parents. How children feel about themselves and their family have a lot to do with how the parents associate with each other as well as the children.

Also Read:

Child Psychology – Tips To Understand Your Child Better

Conduct Disorder In Children – Causes, Symptoms & Treatment