What Happens To Children When Parents Fight? Get To Know Facts From This Parenting Expert

Failure, conflicts and hardships are reasonable, necessary, and healthy! Dealing with the matter is the most essential part here

Jyotika Mehta Bedi
Written by: Jyotika Mehta BediPublished at: Jan 17, 2020Updated at: Jan 17, 2020
What Happens To Children When Parents Fight? Get To Know Facts From This Parenting Expert

Marital Discord is inevitable and has several negative impacts, especially if it is a destructive conflict. Conflict is not only unavoidable, but it is crucial for the long term success of the relationship. Gottman researched thriving, and failing relationships has shown that couples in successful long term relationships enjoy a ratio of 5:1 between positive and negative communication. For every expression of anger/criticism, there are five instances where the partners act kindly, show empathy, express love, praise/admiration and warmth towards one another.

Some negativity is vital, but the positivity should be certainly more as couples can't deal with critical issues of life and have no discord or conflicts. Avoiding challenges, running away from confrontations rather than learning from them. Not all disputes look alike. Some couples are quiet and never raise their voices, whereas others thrive on explosiveness/volatility. What is most hurtful for a relationship- Attack on the Person - be it in the form of name-calling, insults, sarcasm or putting the partner down.


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Some negative impacts are below:

Short Term Effects:

In my experience of raising 3 children - Fighting in unhealthy ways, undermines kids’ sense of security about the stability of the family. I have witnessed in my coaching sessions that Mental health of the entire family is affected. The parent-child, along with husband-wife relationship, maybe impacted simultaneously. High-conflict situations can be extremely stressful for parents, which can further affect the relationship with the child. Stress the silent killer from fighting can take a toll on their physical, emotional and psychological well-being and interfere with normal, day to day functioning in healthy development.

Long Term Effects:

Research says Decreased cognitive performance: A 2013 study published in Child Development found that when parents fought regularly, kids displayed difficulty in showing their emotions and a delay in problem-solving skills too. The fact is that Science states increased relationship problems: Being exposed to parents fighting increases the chances that kids will treat others with hostility. I have seen higher rates of behaviour problems, academic issues, eating disorders and adolescent substance abuse, sleep problems, stomach aches or headaches. Children have confessed A more negative outlook on life.


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Constructive Conflict 

As a Parenting Coach, I also believe “Some types of conflicts are not disturbing to kids, and kids benefit from it,” says E. Mark Cummings, a psychologist at Notre Dame University. Parents who often have milder conflicts, which display emotions of compromise too, helps the child to have better social skills and higher self-esteem. Further, it also helps the child to have enhanced social security and display better performance in school with little fewer mental and psychological issues.


In times of fight, when the child witnesses the parents reconciling, it makes them happier, explains Cummings. It gives the child the assurance that everything is fine in paradise, and everything can be solved when together. This helps the child to immediately get back to their routine of playing and staying stress-free. However, if a conflict continues, these tips can be helpful for parents, as per Glucoft Wong:

  • Lead with empathy and agree to disagree
  •  Give your partner the benefit of the doubt
  •  Remember that you’re on the same team.
  • Blaming is not the solution to anything.
  • Say anything and everything but with kindness

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