Being married for many years is hard. Times change. People change. Conflict is part of every marriage. How we handle marital conflict can have a strong impact on children. Parents that fight in front of their children are hurting their children. Children rely on their parents for security and safety. Fighting, hostility, yelling and threats makes the future uncertain for children. They ask themselves questions like, “Will mommy or daddy leave right now?” and “What will happen to me if mommy or daddy leave?” and “How will we have money is mommy or daddy leave?” and “What did I do wrong?” and “How can I make it better for them?”. Children feel scared and uncertain about the future when their parents fight. Beacause we spend most of our time around our children it is difficult not to fight in front of them, but we can do it. Here are some steps that may help:
1- Set aside times to disuss issues away from the children. Discuss issues after the kids are asleep. Make sure they can’t hear you or are really sleeping:) Get coffee or tea together and discuss your issues when the chidren are not around. Discuss things over the phone during your break or after work when the kids are not around.
2- Learn relaxation. Practice taking 10 long breaths daily. Put on relaxing sounds to calm yourself down. Practice mindfullness or yoga daily. Practice developing a calm state every day.
3- If you are yelling you are not calm. Walk away and practice relaxation.
4- Get couples therapy or individual therapy if you find that you cannot communicate with your spouse in a healthy way or if you feel anxious, overwhelmed, angry, or depressed.
5- Be strong for your children. They need you to be a positive role model. If you are fighting and yelling you are not a positive role model. Remember that children always come first.