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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Is it ok for parents to argue in front of their children?

  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 1


    I have been working in Eltham, Melbourne as a relationship and family counsellor for over twelve years. I draw on current theory and research about … View Profile

    There is extensive research to suggest that arguing in front of your kids is only OK if it is infrequent, not too intense, and where the issue is resolved.
    If you find it hard to manage expressing stong negative emotions in a way that is respectful of your partner (even if it is not violent), and where fighting is prolonged and unresolved, children's development and wellbeing can be negatively affected. 
    The good news is, if you handle conflict in a skillful manner, where you are able to continue to think about your partner's point of view and what is happening for them emotionally as well as what is going on for you, you will teach your kids some great lessons in how to resolve conflict and have healthy relationships themselves.

  • 2


    Caroline Issa


    I am a fully registered Psychologist with over seven years of experience practicing Psychology. I first came into studying Psychology after completing a fashion design … View Profile

    Definitely not, children absorb a lot of information both negative and positive. Parents should be aware of what they say and do in front of their children as they easily mimic. If parents need to discuss something they should set a aside some time when their children are not around so they can talk about their differences

  • 1


    Maria Nguyen

    HealthShare Member

    If you can argue in a civilized way, it is nothing wrong with doing it in front of your kids. But if you argue by calling each other names and being verbally abusive or even physically abusive, you can create a serious psychological trauma to your kids. If your kids witness such fighting often, they will end up growing up emotionally and psycologically unstable and might become a victim of abuse or an abuser himself or herself.

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  • 6


    My name is Catherine and I completed my counselling studies at the Australian Catholic University. As a Counsellor, I have worked in Australia, England, Rwanda, … View Profile

    This is a really good question, so, thank-you for asking. I think that it is inevitable that parents may find themselves arguing in front of their children from time to time; however, depending on how contained the argument is, that is another issue. Containment is really important when expressing any kind of disagreement, misunderstanding, and conflict in front of children. What needs to be considered is the appropriateness of the issue being argued. Given that children can be easily influenced and learn by watching what others do, it might be helpful for parents to consider creating boundaries, as to what is appropriate to discuss in front of their children, and what needs to be discussed in private.

    If parents are to argue in front of the children unexpectedly, if the argument is constructive and calmly discussed, it may be a good learning observation for the children. However, if it is an argument that cannot be discussed calmly, rationally, and with containment, then perhaps this argument is better left for when the children are not around.  Parents are naturally one of their children’s role model/s in terms of learnt behaviours, so, children will look to learn from their parents; positive and negative behaviours.

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