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Some time ago I read a news story that made me think. The local Police of Murcia, Spain, arrested a couple for mutually assaulting each other inside a moving car, in the presence of their two children, ages 3 and 5. The first thing that occurred to me to think and question was how the little ones would feel. How do children internalize their parents' fights and arguments?
Sure, who has never argued? Arguing from time to time can even be healthy to express feelings instead of keeping them to yourself. It is important that we say what we feel, think, even when we disagree, or when we are angry about something. Parents often disagree for various reasons, for housework, weekend activities and even for the education of their children. What does not seem fair to me, although sometimes we all forget and end up doing it, is that it is discussed in front of the children. An argument is like a fight where words are used.
Do you know what a child feels when parents argue? The yelling and angry words that parents use in their arguments can scare and hurt young children. Even if you don't perceive it, children worry even when their parents, due to some discrepancy, stop talking.
Do you remember the swimmer Michael Phelps who won a ton of medals at the Olympic games? In one of his interviews, he revealed that it was his parents' fights that led him to swim. In order not to hear the screams and shouts of his parents, he would go and dive in the swimming pool of their house, and he would swim until his parents were quiet. Years later his parents separated. Children can draw the wrong and hasty conclusions from their parents' altercations.
When parents are upset and out of control over an issue related to them, they may feel guilty about the argument. They may even think that their parents are going to get divorced, they are sad, they cry, and this can lead to headaches, difficulty falling asleep and not wanting to go to school. On the other hand, that does not mean that parents cannot argue. There are no perfect families. Even in the happiest home, problems and arguments can arise. However, like everything else, there must be a limit, to avoid that a simple discord does not go too far and reach shouting, insults or violence.
It is important that children know that opinions can clash at some point, but that does not mean that everything is going to end. It can be the start of a chat with them. If ever, during an argument, you have 'got out of line' in front of your children, ask for their forgiveness. Explain that this is not going to happen again and that you will love them very much.
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