Fighting and disagreements are part and parcel of almost every marriage. Often, many couples fight over many things, from finances to small issues like taking out the trash or cleaning the dishes. The long-term effects of parents fighting around children are not the best.

I have witnessed the horrible effects parent squabbles have on a child. My mom and dad were high school lovers, and as soon as they finished graduation, they got married and had me. 

But they were still young and naïve, and my grandparents had to step in and helped raise me. They helped with housework and footed most of the bills until my father got a job with the local construction company.

As I grew up, I soon realized that all wasn’t rosy. My father struggled to keep his job and started doing alcohol every day. My mother became frustrated and was always angry, and they would bicker and shout at each other all night long. I would get scared and hide under the bed every time they started.

My grandmother soon noticed and took me to live with her. After a few months, I went back home, and all seemed okay. One night, in a drunken stupor, I heard him say that I would be better off at my grandparent’s house as I was now becoming a burden. I had recently been diagnosed with asthma and needed medication. That night my mom got so angry that she threw a pot at him for rejecting me. I went back to live with my parents in my teenage years. My little brother was now almost three years old. But I soon realized that they never stopped fighting. My brother would get tensed and scared every time he heard them start shouting and would run to the bathroom and hide.

Also Read: The Definitive Guide to Parenting Teens: Strategies to Survive the Adolescent Years and Build Bonds that Last.

Parents fight over almost anything. However, how they handle themselves in front of the children is what matters the most.  One day, when my parents were at it, I gathered a few clothes, carried my brother, and went to my grandmother’s house. We never went back home.

My grandmother got full custody of us and took us to therapy. I am now a mother of three beautiful children, and I do everything in my power to treat them right. My husband also comes from a broken family, so we endeavor to do the right thing at all times.

But I have learned that there are always dire consequences for children to see parents fighting.

Here’s what happened to my brother and me as a result of watching our parents fighting

Mistrust

When I saw my parents fighting, feelings of mistrust cropped up. As a child, you expect your parents to be your saviors and protectors. But when you see them fight and even hurt each other through words and actions, you view them differently.

One tends to see them differently and see them as betrayers who broke their promise to care and protect you. 

Safety Compromised

When my dad threw a fork at my mom in our presence, we all feared for our lives. This fear made us feel unsafe in the house because we didn’t know when they would erupt. Not only did we hate their fighting, but we also felt uncared for, mainly when they fought in front of us.

When a parent wants to or causes bodily harm to the other, the children will feel unsafe, leading them to avoid their parents at all costs or even run away from home.

Heightened Levels of Stress

All families go through stressful issues once in a while. But coming from a family with fighting parents heightens the stress levels of the children. These children often undergo stressful moments at home, which affects their productivity and mental health.

Stress made my siblings, and I become withdrawn and antisocial. This stress affected our grades at school; to a point, my older brother wanted to quit school.

Aggression

Due to the constant fighting and arguing, the home becomes a toxic space with negative energy. This energy often rubs on the children, who also start being aggressive and even physical.

This aggression also transfers to school and other outdoor places.

Health Problems

Due to the family’s constant high-stress levels, many children end up being emotionally and psychologically disturbed. Mental health issues like depression and anxiety start to crop up. These conditions often crop up because they feel helpless and wish things would change.

Due to this, many children will try to find comfort or an escape. These may include overeating, drugs, alcohol, even sexual deviant behaviors.

Relationship Issues

The relationship with my friends became strained as I would be mean and cold towards them. This indifference brought a lot of arguing, which eventually led to damaged friendships.

At home, my siblings and I resulted in fighting to solve sibling squabbles. This fighting came up due to our surroundings, and we generally grew hostile towards one another.

My older brother would become abusive towards his partners when dating, which led to many broken relationships.

Low Self-Esteem

Over the years and through experience, I have realized that children who live in such households usually have trouble with cognitive performance. This lack of cognition usually affects their ability to reason and decide effectively.

It also affects their attention and emotions. All this often leads to poor social behaviors, low grades, and even dropping out of school.

Fighting is an issue that should be addressed mainly because of the children who are affected physically, emotionally, and psychologically. The feelings of guilt, shame, unworthiness, and helplessness often riddle a child and consume them.

Despite what my siblings and I went through, we came out better, and our parents’ conflicts no longer have a hold on us. Attending therapy and having understanding friends, family, and teachers helped us a great deal to recover from the pain caused.

Thus, children from such families should be paid extra attention and encouraged to talk and express themselves. This care will enable them to go through the process without much damage to their health, egos, and esteem. 

Children learn through emulation. In this case, parents’ proper deliberation will help them learn and understand how to solve their problems. Therefore, parents should solve their problems amicably to set an excellent example for their children.

As parents, you should solve your problems away from your children. Avoid screaming, shouting, being physical, and calling each other vulgar and disrespectful words. Instead, practice patience and respect when solving issues. Parents should try to balance their marriage with kids at home.

After an argument, parents are encouraged to show their children that all is well and still love each other. This assurance helps the children learn and understand and ensures they grow in a well-rounded, healthy, and happy family.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Also Read: 7 Money-Saving Hacks For Parents That Can Really Add Up

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Anupriya

Anupriya is the SEO Strategist and a founder of ParentingSquare, an online resource that provides information about parenting. Being a mom of a little girl, inspires her to write and share information on parenting. She is an active member of the Circle of Moms and Mom Summit.

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