While kids generally do best in two-parent families, if there is regular verbal disrespect, arguments or physical altercations in the household, the kids may fare better if their parents are separated. Although a spat or two doesn’t mean you’ve irreparably harmed your child, constant fighting can harm your child’s mental health. Fighting undermines children’s’ sense of security about the stability of their family. Frequent or intense fighting is stressful for kids and can take a toll on their physical and psychological well-being.
In a 2012 study published in the journal, “Child Development” researchers found that kindergartners who had parents who fought frequently and viciously were more likely to experience depression, anxiety and behavioral issues by the time they reached seventh grade.
In a 2013 study published in the same journal found that living in a high–conflict home could impair a child’s cognitive performance. Researchers found that being exposed to parents’ fighting increased the chance that their children will treat others with hostility, have increased aggression, delinquency and conduct problems. Additionally studies have linked children’s’ eating disorders, substance abuse, sleep problems, low self-esteem and a negative outlook on life, to an environment of parental fighting at home.
Before couples make a decision to separate, they should consult a therapist to help determine whether they may benefit from counseling together, take anger management classes or emotion regulation therapy to reduce the conflict, so their kids can grow up healthier and happier.
Jonathan C. Brown
101 Main Ave. S, Fayetteville, TN 37334