If you were to take a group of parents aside and ask them if they argued with their spouse in front of their children… odds are each parent would probably answer ‘no’. Arguing in front of children is seen as a huge sociological ‘no-no’. Let’s face it though… as parents and in marriage we are not perfect. Not all conflict can be resolved without the presence of our children.

I’ll admit that my husband and I do fight in front of our kids. We don’t have full out screaming matches. However, if we are in the midst of a disagreement we will resolve the matter in front of our children. We don’t see this as setting a bad example for our children. If anything we feel that they are learning problem solving skills by witnessing our small snafus. It teaches them conflict resolution at a young age.

So when does an argument go too far?

Well…

My husband and I have always agreed that we would not call each other names or belittle one another in the presence of our children. Name calling is simply juvenile and a sign a spite. Something we do not need our children to learn. After all our children do learn from our example. They are constantly watching our every move and listening to our every word that comes of our mouths.

Yesterday was one of those days. Not only that… it was Valentines Day. I picked my husband up from the train station. He was in quite the mood. A mood I wasn’t going to put up with. Some very spiteful things were said and I was called a ‘bitch’ in front of the children. I’m not going to divulge into further details. My husband has since apologized. The details aren’t really anyone else’s business but our own..

The whole situation last night left me very upset. My children are at the age where they are expanding their vocabulary. Their minds are like sponges. For them to have heard some of the comments directed at me felt like a dagger went straight through my heart. Our fight went way too far and turned way too sour.

I’ve now had some time to reflect and I’m wondering if our approach is one off. Should we really argue in front of our children? Are we doing right by it? Certainly not when the arguments go south rather than reach resolution.

Spill it! Do you argue in front of your children?

16 Comments on Arguing in Front of the Kids

  1. Katrina Brady
    February 15, 2012 at 8:31 pm (6 years ago)

    Tough one! If you can help it, I don’t think you should. Sometimes they come out of nowhere, unfortunately and you are trapped, such as in the car. The only thing you can do is try to “manage” an arguement. By that I mean take the kids out of the situation if possible and if not, then sit them down and explain in terms there age can understand. That’s pretty much the best you can do IMO

    Reply
    • Nicole
      February 15, 2012 at 8:42 pm (6 years ago)

      Definitely is a difficult scenario. It doesn’t help that we’re both stubborn either and most always both have the last word. All that aside, I agree with you… It is important to charge and manage the disagreements. Last night was definitely tough for us given that we were trapped in the car. It is important to discuss the matter with the kids should they witness it. Conflicts must cause undue confusion upon them. It’s important that they understand the occurrence and enforce that Mommy and Daddy do still love one another, etc.

      Reply
  2. Tara Popovich
    February 15, 2012 at 8:46 pm (6 years ago)

    I’m glad he has apologized & things are good now. Yes, we argue in front of our child, but not all the time, and just like you said, no name calling or yelling. I come from a loud family & we tended to raise our voices during an argument so that has been difficult for me. I just always try to keep in mind that my daughter is going to immitate what she sees from us in her own marriage. I think it’s great that you resolve in front of your children, because like you said, they learn conflict resolution. None of us are perfect & some arguments need to be settled right then & there, I have a hard time keeping my feelings in, so waiting for bedtime is not always an option! 🙂

    Reply
    • Nicole
      February 15, 2012 at 8:54 pm (6 years ago)

      He has A LOT to do in order to make up for what went down yesterday. LOL! But that’s a whole different story!

      It made my heart smile to hear that you can relate. I came from a loud family too, but in the sense that I was the child who witnessed my parents have a very vocal and unhappy marriage. Lots of name calling, tears, and screaming. It has taken a lot for me to learn that, that is not an ok approach.

      While J and I will have disagreements in front of the kids… We are not ok with spurting out spiteful comments and name calling. The moment the fight heads in the direction… it’s gone wayyy too far. Really… do you even know what you’re arguing about anymore? What do you gain from that… especially if you do it in front of the kids?

      Like you I can’t hold in my emotions. If something is bothering me I speak my mind, but I try to do so calmly.

      Reply
  3. Multi-Testing Mommy
    February 15, 2012 at 9:05 pm (6 years ago)

    I’m sorry that this happened yesterday 🙁

    I think that solving problems, agreeing to disagree, etc. is a healthy skill that everyone must learn. So, having said that, there is disagreeing and there is fighting. I think arguing comes somewhere in the middle.

    We are all human – no two people can co-exist perfectly with NO disagreements once in a while. We have chosen not to shelter our children from this so that they can learn what a healthy relationship is all about – I don’t want them to expect perfection when they grow older and get into relationships of their own. BUT, if it is a very heated debate, we will try our hardest to wait until later when we have privacy.

    Good luck with resolving your problems! Hugs!

    Reply
    • Nicole
      February 15, 2012 at 9:10 pm (6 years ago)

      I couldn’t agree more with the points you’ve made!

      Reply
  4. The Working Mama
    February 15, 2012 at 9:18 pm (6 years ago)

    I am so sorry to hear this– it’s not a good thing for children to hear/witness. But it happens to the best of us. And hopefully, these incidents are rare. My husband and I try not to have “fights” in front of our kids. We do argue and I think that’s fine as like you said, it’s part of real life and teaches the kids conflict resolution. Life can be stressful and we have had moments in front of our kids that we are not proud of. But now that our kids are getting older and understand more, we are more determined to not subject them to shouting matches or really heated albeit silly arguments. I have a toddler just under two and yet she knows when I’m upset and knows enough to ask “Mommy, what happened?” when I happen to be short with my husband even if she doesn’t understand completely what is being said.

    Reply
  5. Heather
    February 15, 2012 at 10:24 pm (6 years ago)

    we argue in front of the kids because I feel it’s important for them to see us argue fairly and work out the issue and say our ‘I love yous’ at the end of it all. But if we ever got to name calling like that, there would be a whole other kind of argument that would happen behind closed doors!

    Reply
  6. Little Miss Kate
    February 16, 2012 at 2:22 am (6 years ago)

    eek – does not sound like a great valentine’s day! I would say DH and I bicker in front of DS, but not outright argue. And name calling is a HUGE ” no no”.
    Children learn by example and treating your partner with disrespect just shows them that it is OK to treat others with disrespect too.
    Hope you are able to work through this quickly. Modeling compromise and problem solving is great, but for me arguments are not for the eyes of children

    Reply
    • Nicole
      February 16, 2012 at 2:26 am (6 years ago)

      My husband apologized this afternoon. He recognizes he has done wrong and wishes he could turn back time. I know we all have our bad moments, but arguing in front of my children is not something I like to do. Disagreements is one thing. Arguing is another.

      Thanks so much for your feedback! I appreciate it! 🙂

      Reply
  7. Christine
    February 16, 2012 at 3:07 am (6 years ago)

    Eeek! We try not to, but unfortunately at times it’s been known to happen. My husband is pretty good at being calm and he never raises his voice. It’s me who has he problems with keeping emotions in check. I admit it and I am embarrassed and ashamed to admit this. When I’m exhausted, stressed out, and frustrated, I need to learn to just count to ten and return to the conversation when I can settle down a bit. *sigh* There. I was being honest.

    Reply
    • Nicole
      February 16, 2012 at 3:14 am (6 years ago)

      Can I just say how much I appreciate your comment?! Because I do! Thank you so much for opening up. Nobody is perfect and as much as we all try to be strong and keep our emotions in check… it’s not always that easy! I can be known to raise my voice from time to time to albeit I try very hard not to. Like you, it comes out when I’m stressed or frustrated. I’m beginning to learn to walk away and recollect when I’m in need of a calm down period.

      Reply
  8. Denise G
    February 16, 2012 at 8:13 am (6 years ago)

    Great post! I’m not married but I would probably have a spat. I am only human – but like you say how far it would go wouldn’t be far.

    Reply
  9. Just Us Girls
    February 16, 2012 at 2:55 pm (6 years ago)

    🙁
    Super sorry this happened to you and the hubby, girly. I’m the same as Christine, my hubby is the calm one, he hates fighting, arguing, etc. If he does get upset he usually walks away to calm down. It’s always me that yells and gets too emotional over silly things. That’s one of my flaws that I love and hate all at the same time. But I’m human.

    We try hard not to argue in front of our little ones, but when we are just having a conversation and disagree with each other we don’t hide that from the kids. It does teaches them that it is okay to have different opinion from someone else.

    Reply
  10. freescia
    February 16, 2012 at 4:21 pm (6 years ago)

    Great post. Reminds me to be careful with words too. However we cannot fight in front of the children, even if we wanted to because my four year old daughter is so bossy and defensive, even if we raised our voices a little bit too much in an excited conversion, she starts reminding us, “Hey you can’t shout, you’re hurting my ears.” or “Dont talk to Daddy like that, you said so.” Seriously! The other thing is I guess we just don’t see each other enough to fight so that’s another story.

    Reply
  11. Lian
    February 16, 2016 at 2:35 pm (2 years ago)

    There have been a few times where my other half and I have argued in front of our kids. We don’t like to, but it has happened when we’re caught up in our emotions on a few occasions. We do stop and explain to our kids why we are talking to each other the way we are and apologize for arguing.

    Reply

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