Is It Ok To Argue In Front Of Kids?

Is It Ok To Argue In Front Of Kids?
22 March 2016

Do you ever argue in front of your kids?

It's not something I've given much thought to - and we're not exactly a screaming-match-and-plate-smashing couple - but we certainly don't hide conflict from our kids. If a disagreement rears its ugly head over the breakfast cereal, we're likely to have a heated exchange of words regardless of how many little pairs of ears might be listening.

Yet according to research commissioned by the Department of Work and Pensions, I could be harming my brood by bickering with their dad in front of them.

The Independent reports:

"Children who witness conflict between their parents have poorer long-term life chances and can become suicidal in extreme cases, a new study has warned."

Interestingly though, the research concluded that unresolved tension between parents can have a negative impact on a child's long-term mental health, which surely suggests that dealing with conflict is preferable to raising a child in an atmosphere of simmering resentments.

It's well-documented that exposing a child to serious conflict over the long-term is likely to hamper their emotional and mental well-being but leaving that more serious issues aside, do you ever worry that the daily little disputes that crop up between most couples might have a harmful effect on your child?

As my kids get older, I find it harder to imagine way of dealing with disputes when they're not around. They go to bed later so the usual 'let's discuss this once the kids are in bed' just doesn't cut it anymore.

So, speaking personally, I can't see a way round the occasional argument in front of the kids. Handled well, I think the odd argument is good for kids to witness. It surely shows them that conflict is ok and an inevitable part of being in a relationship.

But what's your view? Do you avoid arguing in front of the kids and if so, why? Or are you of the opinion that hiding conflict from your kids does them no favours in the long run? We'd love to hear your thoughts. Leave us a comment below or join the debate over on our Facebook page.

TOPICS:   Parenting Tips


  • Samcj

    I think they need to see a bit of disagreement. My husband still thinks arguing is really abnormal. He says his parents never argued and as they are happy that's the way to go. He doesn't seem to understand that they did but not in front of him (I know they did as I asked them). So he doesn't argue..instead he lets things fester and stops speaking to me.....

    • Dawn

      Your husband is right. Would you feel better if he was shouting at you?

      I also was a child, who's parents didn't argue. My dad said, in 24 years of marriage they argued once. ONCE!!! For him that meant a lot. 

      I also do not argue. My husband does. I'm feeling frustrated, heartbroken, not loved. DEPRESSED. That is how I am feeling, I want to disappear then. 

      My dad had a very good sense of humour. That was the main thing communicating with people and with my mum as well. He was always saying, if you are not satisfied, everything needs to be discussed. Discussions not equal arguments. 

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