Why We Argue In Front Of Our Kids

Our voices were raised. Our tone was frustrated. We were barely waiting for the other to finish before we snapped back with our own reply. The cabinet door slammed.

What was it about? Who even knows. Maybe the teething baby, the bills due, the unpredictable schedule, the obligations.

Adulting is hard. Harder on 2.5 hours sleep and sporadic bites of food.

One of the kids walked into the room. “Are you arguing?” One of us answered, “Yes.”

“Are you frustrated with me or with each other?”

“Each other.”

“Ok. I know you’ll figure it out. Then you say sorry and try again.”

I wish I could say that those words put an end to our marital squabble, but in reality, we hopped right back into it for a few more minutes! #keepingitrealfolks πŸ˜› Later, though, our child’s words came back to us, and we realized how important that moment was.

Those words our 4-year-old spoke weren’t her own. She was repeating what our family practices, the words I speak to my children almost every day. “You can figure it out. Then say sorry and try again.”

Disagreements are nothing to be afraid of.

They are nothing to avoid.

They are a normal part of life and relationships.

My children argue. And I tell them to try to figure it out.

My husband and I argue. And then we figure it out.

I want my children to understand that love is not shaken by disagreement. That love, the unconditional love of a spouse, of a parent for child, of a true friend – this love will sometimes see you angry, hurting, crushed, even broken, and that love will stay strong.

I want them to see that when their father and I make a mistake, we make amends, and love again.

I want them to see that the beauty of human love is being able to say, “I’m sorry. Forgive me. I will try again.” Not to ignore or wish it away, but to acknowledge it – and then grow stronger together.

I want them to know that it’s okay to be angry, to be hurt, to be disappointed in someone they love. More importantly, I want them to know that it’s okay to express that.

We will probably argue in front of our children many times over the years. Sometimes we might slam the door, raise our voices, or say unkind things. Sometimes the perfectly constructed dialogue won’t happen – exhaustion, stress, or emotion will play a role.

They will see this.

They will hear this.

And then they will see their parents love again. They will see us offer forgiveness. They will see us stand up again and work side by side in love.

They will see that love doesn’t mean never having to say you’re sorry, but that true love means saying:

“I’m sorry. Let’s try again.”

 

 

 

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37 Comments

  1. This just blew me away!
    My parents used to argue in private when we were small, then when we got older witnessing the first row was almost frightening and we didn’t know how to handle what was going on. I admire that your teaching your children to understand that arguments happen and are a natural side effect of love.
    I will be definitely be using this method with my daughter πŸ˜‰

  2. Thanks for the great article. They are bunch of great thoughts and a new perspective as my fellow reader mentioned. Thanks

  3. Arguing can be completely healthy if completed in a productive manner. It allows for self expression and helps build confidence by having to construct a platform to stand and defend. If allowed in front of children, it can show them a healthy manner in problem solving as well as proper communication skills. Well put ?

  4. I really love the way you write! This was such a powerful message. I never thought of arguing like this before and it brought it to a really awesome perspective. I do not have any children however so I can’t relate in that aspect. I do have a partner of 6 years and we argue and have disagreements. I try hard not to raise my voice but of course it’s going to happen. Love is not easy but it lasts.

  5. When my four sons were little I did some research and discovered that psychologists actually do support that parents disagree/fight in front of their children – as long as they also see them make up. It teaches them valuable skills to use in their own lives. Only seeing the fight is unhealthy and scary – which is what most couples do. They fight and then makeup in private… which leaves children insecure and fearful of their security as a family. Your children are blessed by your wisdom ? xoxo

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