Families and Fighting…Is It All Bad?

stop fightingMy husband and I recently got into an argument and while of course I was right, as usual, I could not just walk away.  I knew that my kids were watching but I needed to express how I was feeling at that moment and don’t regret it.

Aren’t we supposed to save our arguments when kids are not around?  Of course I don’t want my children to witness us fighting and I certainly don’t recommend getting into the habit of doing it.  Is that really reality though?

The reality is it happens; every couple fights.  Should we provide our kids with a false sense of who we are and what we believe in to protect them?  Think about all of the topics there are to argue about.  You have finances, the kids, getting “me” time, who is more tired, who works harder, who should help out more, purchases, the house, family, education…and on and on and on.

In light of this recent argument and being ultra aware of how my kids felt about it, I have been doing a lot of thinking about the topic.  Is fighting verbally really that bad for our kids to witness?  We have been trained to believe that to be the truth and of course we don’t want our kids to see us disrespecting each other or hearing hurtful things we say out of anger.

Well, today while my husband and I exchanged a few (okay, more than a few) words and I remember thinking to myself during the whole fiasco, “just stop and save it for later”, “the kids are watching”, “we are both heated and need to back off”, but I kept going.  I knew it was wrong but I wanted, needed to get my opinion heard and was going to express it no matter what.

After it was over, my kids told us to stop fighting and that they don’t like when we are mad at each other, which hurt to hear.  You remember your parents fighting as a kid and thinking, “that won’t be me”, but it’s inevitable.  It’s part of being a couple.  It’s part of merging two different personalities.  It’s part of life.

Not my proudest moment in parenting but I realized that maybe it’s not that terrible.   As I started to explain what had just occurred to the kids, I realized that maybe being a spectator at our family bickering matches is really not all that bad.  Here’s why:

  • I want to teach my kids to stand up for themselves and to go after what they believe in, no matter what.
    • Mommy and Daddy are being strong willed, sharing their opinions and feelings with each other and that teaches the boys what a strong person is all about.
    • It is evident both Mommy and Daddy are exhibiting confidence, assertiveness and moral courage, teaching the boys to stand up to what they believe in.
  • I don’t want to provide my kids with a false sense of what marriage is.
    • It is sharing your life with your best friend and having a mutual respect for each other but it is also hard work and at times, challenging and frustrating.
    • Life is not all rainbows and unicorns and I want my kids to be prepared and to be realistic.
  • I am preparing my kids for the real world and future relationships.
    • When my kids face various situations, now and in the future, whether it be with friends, with significant others or with co-workers, I want them to be strong, assertive and confident in their beliefs and never stand down.
    • I want them to be leaders, not followers.
    • I don’t want my kids to ever feel like they can’t express themselves when faced with a certain situation.
  • It is important for us to confront our kids after the argue match is over:
    • Mommy and Daddy love each other but sometimes differ in our opinions.
    • Just because we may raise our voices and say things we don’t really mean, doesn’t mean we don’t love each other.
    • It is very similar to when you fight with your brother.  You still love each other but are just expressing yourselves in the moment.
  • Parents are supposed to be role-models for their children and every move we make is shaping who our children are and will be.
    • A child that witnesses his parent being disrespected, and sees the parent doing nothing about it, might think they are weak, too passive and easily stepped on.
    • This behavior will provide the child with the wrong survival tools to use in response to negative situations, leading to being potentially abused, both verbally and even possibly physically.
    • Mommy and Daddy stand up for what they believe in and it is okay to disagree about something and speak your mind.

I wish my kids would never have to witness my husband and I having an argument and believe me, we try, but in the moment, we each want to have the last word and be right.  Our kids hear us apologize and see us hug and kiss afterward, which teaches them to be sensitive to someone else’s feelings and own up to something you may have done that is wrong.  We make sure our kids know how much we really do care for each other, how important it is to laugh together as well as partner in our decisions.  We feel we are teaching them to be passionate people.

Through it all, we teach and preach love, kindness, appreciation, strength, confidence and courage and that sounds like a pretty awesome household if you ask me!

Now if my husband could just learn to say, “Yes Dear” or “You’re right Dear” or even “Whatever you say Dear”, we could probably avoid all of this nonsense.  Just kidding…sort of.