When parents constantly argue and bicker, it’s the children who eventually suffer for it. According to a recent study published in the journal Child Development, kids who have been exposed to marital problems are more likely to develop emotional insecurities, which then manifest into more serious problems in their adolescence.
Studying 235 mothers, fathers, and children over seven years of age, researchers tried to find a connection between parents' marital problems and their kids’ emotional issues, some of which make themselves known in the children's teen years. Based on the results, it appears that the kids’ exposure to marital problems early on can predict any depressive and anxious behavior in the future.
"Emotional insecurity appears to be an explanation for the effects of marital conflict on children's later problems," lead author E. Mark Cummings, professor and Notre Dame Endowed Chair in Psychology at the University of Notre Dame, explains. "This mechanism lasts across relatively long periods of time and across the transition between childhood and adolescence."
While marital problems aren’t exactly things you can avoid, there are better ways to resolve conflict than fighting with your partner in front of your children. As much as possible, keep the kids out of the conversation. Having the last word in an argument isn’t worth the trauma you’ll potentially give your kids.
(Screencap of Fatal Attraction courtesy of Paramount Pictures)