Effects of Conflict Between Parents on Their Children

Effects of Conflict Between Parents on Their Children

Conflict between separated parents can have catastrophic effects on children. That knowledge can sometimes encourage parents in conflict on to make changes to the way they relate to each other.

Anyone can make changes in the way they relate to each other, although it is not easy.

Why does conflict between parents have such a damaging impact on children?

Diminishes the Parent’s Role as Protector

Parents are protectors: children turn to their parents when they are upset, they provide protection against real or imagined dangers.

In separations when parents show intense hostility towards each other they are the ones who are upset and out of control. If a child sees their parents acting like a child in managing their emotions, who will protect the child?

Separated parents need to be wary of showing their conflict in front of their children because it’s generally healthy and positive for young children to see their parents as protective figures.

Parents want their children to talk to them about any problems or issues they have, but if that child doesn’t see them as a protector any longer they might be less inclined to do that or in they might deliberately behave badly or hurt themselves to draw attention back to them and their need to be protected

Can Cause Identity Issues Within Children

Remember a child is the product of the union of both parents. Criticism of the other parent can feel like a criticism of them.

Fails to Teach Effective Conflict-resolution Skills

A big part of parenting is showing a child how to behave correctly and how to conduct themselves. It’s about teaching them the right skills that will be of use to them in the future. If the parents are arguing with one another all the time, they are displaying a lack of conflict resolution skills, vital skills a child needs.

Threatens Loss of Stability or Abandonment

Separated parents can sometimes try and hurt the other parent by not turning up to collect a child, turning up late or walking away in anger following an argument. The people the parent are actually hurting are their children

Puts the Child in a Loyalty Bind

Children feel loyalty to both of their parents, but this can be badly damaged if they feel like they’re stuck in the middle and must choose sides.

Even if there is no direct pressure to choose or show loyalties to one side over another, children can very easily feel that pressure regardless.

They will see what’s happening and they might even develop their own opinions. They might decide that one side is guiltier than the other, and that’s not an ideal situation for any child to be in.

Insecurity Problems Might Emerge

When children are put in stressful situations and they see their parents argue a lot, it can threaten their security. Watching parents argue can be confusing for children if they are not sure what it all means or why it’s happening.

It is important for parents to keep children informed. Be honest with them without upsetting them with too much detail.

Further Reading

Mediation Can Help

Family mediation can help parents work through some of the conflict and find ways to become cooperative parents.

If you’d like to discuss how mediation could help you, please call us today on 0117 924 3880 / 07889039393