Fighting With Your Spouse: How You Indirectly Effect Your Child


Being in a relationship has its stresses, but what happens if those stresses are greatly affecting the people you love? Conflict is natural and should be discussed in private however sometimes we do not realize who is listening. It has been found that children who witness conflict between their parents experience more negative behaviors and emotions than that of the average child. These include: decrease in emotional security, feelings of defenselessness, increased aggression, increased distress, and hyperactivity. Parents are role models; their actions are closely observed and usually repeated by their child. There is a higher chance that the child will become easily upset and throw tantrums because that is what they consider to be a normal reaction. Fighting also relays the message to the child that intimacy involves conflict and turmoil, causing the child to stray away from future intimate relationships. Another lasting effect is misplaced guilt. If parents become hostile towards each other and coincidently the same day the child made a mistake or got in trouble, the child might blame him or herself for the altercation.

Interestingly, Brown University conducted a study involving 54 children and their sleep habits. This particular study also consisted of interviewing both parents and children about life at home and any conflicts that had occurred. Over a series of comparing family information and sleep habits, the team discovered that children witnessing moderate to severe conflict at home lost an average of 30 minutes of sleep per night. This loss of sleep can effect a child’s development especially at a young age.

Specialists highly recommend finding a solution by positively communicating with your partner in front of the child to teach that disagreement is normal and can be dealt with in a constructive way.

If you believe that you or a loved one has or may have conflicts with their spouse; the psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling can help you. Please contact our Bergen County, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively at (201)-368-3700 or (212)-722-1920 to set up an appointment, or visit for more information




By: Jennifer Oscherician



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