Couples fight harder in front of their kids

By Anita E. Kelly, Psychology Today

We all know that it’s bad for our kids to fight in front of them. Yes, it’s not ideal to scream at our beloved spouses how stupid and ugly they are while our children are listening. The sad truth is that kids who are exposed to negative kinds of marital conflict tend to be more aggressive and have more emotional problems.

Thus, it’s not surprising that a study of 47 couples who kept track of their marital conflicts over a 15-day period showed that they fought less frequently in front of their kids (8-16 years). However, what was puzzling is that both the husbands and wives reported that they used more negative conflict tactics, such as insulting their spouse and aggressing toward objects, when their kids were present. Both spouses also reported being more angry during conflicts that occurred in front of their kids. The worst part was that they were more likely to fight about child-related issues when their kids were present; and research has shown that these kinds of conflicts are particularly distressing for kids to observe. Read more …