Child CareParentsFamily Life No one would be surprised to learn that kids suffer when their parents argue. Still, detailed research on exactly how kids are affected and which aspects of parental conflict are most harmful can help families and communities to address the problem effectively.
Here are some highlights of the research they present. Which aspects of parental conflict matter? There is no such thing as a relationship entirely free from conflict and disagreement, and surely all children see their parents argue at one time or another. When parents relate to each other calmly and positively even during a disagreement, solve the problem together, and show children through their subsequent interactions that the conflict has been resolved, then the children may be unaffected and a small body of research suggests they may even learn conflict-resolution skills, which they can apply to their own relationships down the road, from such situations.
Parental conflict is harmful to kids, however, when it is frequent; when it is heated and hostile, involving verbal insults and raised voices; when parents become physically aggressive; when parents withdraw from an argument or give each other the silent treatment; when the conflict seems to threaten the intactness of the family; and when it's about the child.
The impact of witnessing domestic violence on kids is not explored in detail in this book, but of course it too has been shown to be very harmful. And conflict is harmful regardless of whether parents are married or even living together.
How exactly do children suffer from their parents' conflicts? From a very early age—as young as six months, some researchers say—children show distress when their parents fight.
Their reactions can include fear, anger, anxiety, and sadness, and they are at higher risk of experiencing a variety of health problems, disturbed sleep, and difficulty in focusing and succeeding at school.
They may "externalize" their distress in the form of "aggression, hostility, anti-social and non-compliant behaviour, delinquency and vandalism," or "internalize" it in the form of "depression, anxiety, withdrawal and dysphoria.
Why does parental conflict produce these effects? Conflict between parents harms kids in part because of a spillover effect: High-conflict relationships can also produce lax and inconsistent parenting: But parental conflict also seems to harm kids even apart from its effects on parenting.
Researchers have proposed a variety of frameworks and mechanisms that may explain this process. To give one example, in the struggle to understand their parents' conflict, children can come to blame themselves or find harmful ways of coping with the conflict.
In addition, on top of their negative emotions, children experience physiological reactions related to stress that may harm their brain development.
Why do the effects of parental conflict affect some children differently from others? A large number of variables shape the impact of parental conflict: Family characteristics matter, too: While socioeconomic pressure tends to worsen parents' mental health and increase parental conflict, the link between conflict and child outcomes remains significant when socioeconomic pressure is accounted for.
In other words, "children are vulnerable to the impact of a high conflict home regardless of their parents' socioeconomic situations.Parents and adult children in the same families had different perceptions of tension intensity, with parents generally reporting more intense tensions than children did particularly regarding.
Relations Between the Generations in Immigrant Families Nancy Foner1 and Joanna Dreby2 and cooperation between parents and children in immigrant families Much of what has been written on relations between the generations in immigrant fami-.
Think Before You Type, an anti-cyberbullying and positive self-esteem campaign, takes a look at the generation gap between teens and adults online, and the importance of working together to make the Internet a safer place. The “acculturation gap hypothesis” stipulates that acculturation discrepancies between parents and children create family conflict and discord.
Such family conflict, in turn, leads to difficulties in children’s adjustment psychologically, at school and in other life domains. researchers ask parents and children to report on their own. Conflict between parents harms kids in part because of a spillover effect: parents in high-conflict relationships tend to be worse parents, engaging in more criticism, aggression, making threats, shouting, and .
A common scenario that often plays out in families with parental conflict is when a child is blamed and scapegoated by the parents, which in turn may cause the child to act out. This nonadaptive.