Sunday, May 19, 2013

arguing with my spouse in front of the kids

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relationships with our significant others can be tough.  we don't always get agree on things or remember to use our nice voices.  we have bad days and let words slip out before we think them through. 
last night was one of those nights.
we'd just gotten back from visiting my in-laws.  it was late and i couldn't find my contact solution.  such a silly thing.  i was frustrated and muttering under my breath.  in the processing of me venting my frustrations to my husband, it was perceived that i was snapping at him.  though i didn't mean it that way, i can see how he felt i was crabbing at him. 
and he called me out on it.  in front of Bear (4.5 yrs}.  we weren't yelling or screaming,  but our voices weren't as gentle and loving as they usually are.
it got me to thinking... 
is it okay to argue with my spouse in front of the kids?
my answer is yes, on these conditions:
  • differences in opinions are bound to happen.  as long as we handle them respectfully, in ways that don't put each other down, it teaches our children how to listen to and respect other's views on issues.
  • it's not okay to use abusive language or actions.  this isn't an issue with us as we've never laid a hand on each other in anger.  but it's a fact that there are many dear children who live in abusive homes and witness violence between their parents or parents and their partners. 
  • the disagreement has to be a child-appropriate topic.  obviously, we wouldn't argue about money or marital problems in front of the kids.  i'd say 98% of our "arguments" are based on misunderstandings or misconceptions of the other's intentions, which makes them things that are okay for the kids to hear.
  • we have to try to use nice voices.  this is a tough one for me.  our disagreements are few and far between, yet when they happen, i get defensive immediately.  we don't yell at each other, but i will admit that our voices last night weren't as gentle as they should've been.
  • and lastly....we have to make sure that our kids see the resolution to the disagreement.  i generally give my husband space afterward. when we apologize to each other, i try and make sure that the kids see and hear us apologize.  i think it's important that we teach them that a heartfelt apology can mend fences.  a hug and a kiss between us, shows them that just because Momma and Daddy disagree, it doesn't mean that we don't love each other.
in short, i think that airing disagreements in front of children can be beneficial to the development of their relationship ideals.  arguing doesn't mean that two people don't love each other, just that they have opposing views on issues.  likewise, it also teaches them how and how not to handle confrontations with others.
what do you think?
do you and your significant other air your differences
with each other in front of your children?
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