Something no one ever told me before I became a parent is that once your kids grow up a bit (we have a five year old and a one and a half year old), it becomes very difficult to have an argument with one's spouse. Not that my wife and I are at each others' throats all the time or anything, but dealing with two little ones can be trying at times and we sometimes have our spats (no name calling or physical stuff - just expressing frustration with each other). The problem is, this really upsets our five year old. He tells us "settle down," and obviously feels uncomfortable.
Has anyone else encountered this, and what have you done (besides not arguing anymore, which is probably impossible) to deal with it?
It does get difficult to seperate your child from the arguing, but something my husband and I make a point to do when arguing in front of our son; is to let him see us ALWAYS make-up. I believe that you shouldn't hide your children from certain things, he sees us fight but he sees us make-up. We always make it a point to tell him why we were upset and to apologize for scarying him or if we said a bad word in front of him.
It is hard on children to see grown ups contending. Everychild deals differently.
My 3 year old cant stand to see me cry and he breaks down along with me.
My 10 month old nephews face gets red and he screams dadadadadada aaaaaaaaaaaa as loud as he can when anyone argues around him.
My 2 year old nephew yells "Jenny! Be happy "
DD born 5/25/05
As long as the child sees resolution, occasional (healthy) arguing is acceptable. It may even be considered a learning tool, watching 2 adults resolve an issue. When a couple is bitterly fighting, name-calling and getting physical, everyone in the household gets hurt. The idea of resolution--I got that advice/input straight from a really really great therapist!
You should never argue in front of your children under any circumstances. If that is a problem, it's a sign that marital counseling is needed.
Hey, wedge, just wondering why you said that. What kind of arguments are you talking about? My husband and I argued the other day in Home Depot about which wheel-barrow to buy. My 3 year old daughter heard it all, including the peaceful resolution. How are children supposed to learn how to resolve disagreements if they never hear their parents arguing??? We don't need counseling, we have a wonderful relationship which includes occasional arguing. We used to live in an apartment and the couple above us never argued and we marveled at that, they seemed to have a fantastic peaceful relationship and always talked nicely to each other for several years...then one day they got divorced.
On a more practical note, our house is not particuarly soundproof, if my husband and I went into the bedroom to argue, my daughter would still hear everything. Are we supposed to go for a walk in the dark at 10pm and leave my daughter alone at home??
I think the issue here is what is meant by argument. Certainly it's healthy for children to hear controlled disagreements and the resolutions that follow. It is good for them to learn that family members never stop loving each other even when they disagree.
HOWEVER, an argument that is passionate enough that it "really upsets" a five-year-old is probably more than a simple disagreement. I think those arguments must be saved for when the child is asleep or is otherwise occupied. If you fail to control yourselves, you need to explain to your son that you still love each other, that the fight is not HIS fault, and that he is safe.
I don't consider two people trying to decide between two wheelbarrows to be an argument. It could develop into arguing depending on the people.
This is how I see the situation going:
mom: Here's a good one.
dad: well what do you think about this one. It has x feature.
mom: that's nice, but this one's cheaper and doesn't have wooden handles so it won't splinter.
dad: this one will probably last longer though, and it will carry more weight.
unhealthy and argumentative:
mom: let's get this one.
dad: no, this one's better.
mom: that one's too expensive, and I don't like it.
dad: so, you're not gonna be using it.
mom: well why do you think you always get to decide.
dad:don't give me that, we ate where you wanted to.
Your neighbors may not have argued in public, but I'm sure they did their share of arguing in private. That is very often the way it goes. If you can't keep quiet enough while you're arguing so that your child can't hear you even across the house, that's not a good sign. No matter how freely sound travels in your home.
Good explanation, wedge, it is important to define the difference between 'debate' and 'argue'. 'arguement' = 'unhealthy debate', this made things much more clear. My parents used to have arguments like # 2, I agree that was not good for us children to hear, and, yes, maritial counseling is indicated in those cases.