How to argue with your partner without upsetting the children?

A mum asked me if I had any advice on how and whether to argue with a partner when children are around.

I know it happens to everyone. You are fine. If there are no conflicts, you should start worrying about whether you are human 🙂 🙂

1. It's normal to argue.

Where there is more than one person, there is 100% the potential for conflict. Even with yourself, sometimes you get into arguments when you can't figure out the right thing to do.

How do you feel about this idea? Do you have any experience of your parents/carers arguing?

2. Argue with respect

If it is normal to argue, it is important to do so respectfully. Do you have an idea of how you can argue while maintaining respect for yourself and your partner? I recommend using the "I-statements". For example, instead of saying, "You're arguing with me! I can't stand you!", say, "I feel angry when you forget what we talked about again and again!"

3. Discuss the dispute with the child

You don't have to tell me any details, but more about what happened. That what the child witnessed was an argument, which is what happens when adults try to come to a solution. Especially when the purely human anger and resentment was so great that it was impossible to maintain dignity. Forgive yourself. Apologising to the child gives a sense of security that adults are taking responsibility.

You can ask your older child how they felt when you were arguing, so they have a chance to express their fears. Don't question, but listen.

Note: If it is difficult to maintain mutual respect and find a way to let each other express their frustrations and needs, I strongly encourage you to seek support, for example from a couple counsellor (for example, at the Family Psychology Centre LINA).

If you want to get up to speed on similar issues in child rearing, sign up for the Child Emotional Education course!

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