Arguing In Front of Your Child
Key Points
  • Now that you are divorced, you should make every effort to not argue in front of your children. All your nasty remarks or making fun of the other parent affects your child negatively.
  • Arguing with your ex-spouse can elicit feelings of aggression, anxiety or depression in your child. Your child may also isolate him or herself, or suffer from low self-esteem.
  • Remember your child is half you and half your ex-spouse. If you are putting down your child’s other parent, by extension your child could be associating him or herself with all the negative things you are saying about your ex.

You and the other parent must make every effort to eliminate all types of negative actions towards one another in the presence of your child. This type of behavior can cause your child psychological harm that may be irreversible. This includes all arguments, phone arguments, nasty remarks, poking fun at one another, etc.

There have been many studies that have proven that the act of arguing in front of children causes significant emotional harm. It is understood that you and the other parent probably have your share of differences, but do not let those differences get the best of you and your child.

Partaking in verbal conflict in front of your child may cause him or her to have feelings of frustration, aggression, anxiety, depression, isolation, lack of self-esteem, just to name a few.

You must keep in mind that a child has feelings towards both parents, and to see parents showing anger towards one another makes them extremely uncomfortable. At times they feel insecure. They are not sure what is right or wrong. Children can also assume that they are expected to pick a side, which creates separation. The golden rule to remember, "children should never be put in a position to take sides".

If the conflict between you and the other parent is or becomes very consistent, your child may show signs of tension and nervousness when you and the other parent are around each other. Since the verbal conflict is routine and it is all he or she may see and hear between the two of you, it is very easy for your child to perceive that he or she is the root or cause of the arguments.

Strategies and tactics for preventing conflict from happening in front of your child:

  • Choose a place where you know for sure they will not appear in the middle.
  • Keeps phone calls to one another on a routine, scheduled basis.
  • Consider letting your lawyers ease some of the tension over legal issues.
  • Visitation exchanges, should occur in a public atmosphere.

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Suggested Reading
Creating a Successful Parenting Plan Creating a Successful Parenting Plan
This extraordinary book and computer disk offers separating or divorcing parents a sure-fire way to create a workable, practical parenting plan/agreement that is in the best interest of their children.

Author: Jayne A. Major, Ph.D.

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