Mastering the art of quarreling

Conflicts are a part of every marriage and each conflict has a negative impact on the children.  Both of these statements are unfortunate, yet true. So is the solution to stop fighting? Knowing how unrealistic that is, maybe, learning how to fight and ensuring that the child only learns from it, is the only solution. The noise of raised voices and doors banging might die down externally, but internally, in a child’s mind, they are constantly being replayed; and according to psychiatrists, could lead to life-long negativity in a child.


According to family therapist Sheri Glucoft Wong, of Berkeley, California, just having children creates more conflicts, even if there weren’t many prior to having children. The sudden transition, lesser time to get things done and the stress could be some of the reasons.  One might consider not fighting at all in front of children as the ideal set-up but research shows otherwise. Children need to see that problems exist and need to learn how to deal with them. What they need to be shielded from are destructive conflicts that include verbal aggression, physical aggression, cold wars, sulking and withdrawing.


Why exactly must one pay heed to this and why is it essential for one to learn how to resolve a conflict well? Maybe the primary reason lies in a study of parental conflict and children’s stress, by anthropologists Mark Flinn and Barry England who analyzed samples of the stress hormone cortisol, taken from children in an entire village on the east coast of the island of Dominica in the Caribbean. It was observed that children who witnessed daily conflicts and quarrels at home had higher average cortisol levels than children who lived in more peaceful families. As a result, they frequently became tired and ill, they played less, and slept poorly. Overall, children did not ever habituate, or “get used to,” the family stress. And on the contrary, children who received affection showed fewer signs of stress.


Providing an ambience that promotes healthy communication and conflict resolution not only has temporary benefits, but could also shape your child’s personality and help him defeat negativity when it comes to relationships. Finding a solution to every problem or resolving every fight is not the aim; but to ensure that the quarrel moves in the direction of conflict resolution can help steer a child away from irreversible damage that could last forever.



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