What is it like to grow up with Parents arguing all the time?
To say difficult would be an understatement.
It is like two worlds colliding, ignorant of the damage done to their inhabitants.
It feels like someone has sucked the oxygen out of the air.
Also, it feels like the roof over your head is collapsing, and the ground beneath is disappearing into the unknown. Sometimes they start with whispers and grow louder and louder every minute. Sometimes they are not talking, not at all. And they have multiple reasons for these fights – Finances, family responsibilities, gender roles… affairs! I can go all day. It’s not like they ever stop.
How does it feel like to grow up with parents who are always at each other’s throats? Come with me, I have something to share. I hope you can relate.
What Is It Like To Be In The Middle Of Parents Arguing?
It is ok to disagree or have a bad day. But what matters is whether we want to work it out with a calm head. Strong disagreement between two strong individuals with distinct personalities breaks out a war at home. They use words like bullets and firearms, and they use silence like slow poison gas.
Words hurt more than bullets and knives. When children are in the middle of parents arguing, they suffer the worst casualties. They can sense the sanity and happiness of their mind slowly dying.
No, no, the worst part is yet to come. Children never had a better opportunity to doubt themselves or blame themselves. I am sure that you can imagine the scar it leaves on children’s hearts.
Parents Fighting Effect On Child
Children exposed to parental conflict at a very early age go through many difficulties, and most of them are very dangerous. Experts have done many studies, including observations and follow-up work, in the long term, and more experimental studies have shown the effects arguing parents have over their children.
When children are exposed to parents’ conflicts at the age of six, they develop a faster heart rate. Sleep disturbances, depression, anxieties, and behavioral disorders are very common among children with such upbringing.
Most importantly, parents arguing should develop a stressful environment at home. Parents also feel extremely stressed out, and a stressed-out parent is never in their best mental condition. Also, when children see their parents arguing all the time, they develop a fear of insecurity and sadness.
It Causes Insecurity In Them
If a child is always seeing their parents fight they feel they are not secure in that family, they feel insecure about being in an unstable family. They might get paranoid and start thinking that their parents are getting a divorce and continuously think about when the silent treatment is going to end.
They never feel normal, they are always in a zone of anxiety, and paranoia, always worried when things might go wrong and they would start fighting again.
Affects The Child-Parent Relationship
During conflict situations, it becomes difficult for the parent as well, to give attention to their kid, and spend enough time with them. Because of that, the quality of relation that they both share is affected. During these situations a parent fails to show how much their child means to them, they lack that affection and warmth when they are themselves in distress and upset with one another.
Creating A Stressful Environment
For a kid, it is very stressful when they overhear these intense conversations, rather than fights. It can affect their mental health, as well as their physical health. It interferes with normal well-being and development. Stress has its own ways of taking a toll on a child.
Decreased Cognitive Performance
When children Grow up with parents who fight, they have decreased cognitive performance. A 2013 study proves that living in conflict at home makes it difficult for kids to regulate their emotions and their attention to something.
Their capabilities to solve problems and respond decrease. Many results of school dropouts, or poor grades are often reasons for the same.
Issues With Relationship
Arguing parents might often pass down their behaviors to kids. When kids are exposed to toxic parents arguing, they learn to treat others with the same hostility they witness in their parents.
When they grow up, they start having similar problems in their own relationships. They struggle to maintain a healthy relationship with their partners in the future.
Parental conflict or parents arguing at home has grave effects on a child’s temperament. Conduct problems, delinquency, and social problems are daily companions of kids who live under such conditions.
Physical Issues And Eating Disorders
Eating disorders are among some of the most common disorders in children living with arguing parents. Many of them develop bulimia, anorexia, and high parental discord. Sleep problems, headaches, and stomachaches are some additional common effects.
Negative Outlook On Life
Children who grow up in high-conflict homes have a negative view of life, relationships, friendships, and more. Some of them also develop very low self-esteem.
What To Do When Your Parents Are Fighting?
When parents fight, it feels like you are a mortal stuck between two immortal gods fighting– and they never seem to stop. No, you cannot stop them, not in most cases. But there are things you can try to make yourself feel better.
Whether you call them tips or coping mechanisms, here are some of them to help you during such distress.
It’s Not Your Mess To Clean Up
It is their fight, their conflict. There is no need for you to resolve their conflicts. None of this is happening because of you, and you don’t have any responsibility to take anyone’s side. So, set your boundary and avoid these conflicts.
Live In Your Own Safe Space
You have no business sticking around to see who wins the argument. When parents are arguing, it might leave you angry, upset, down, stressed, or irritable. So, instead of staying around them, find your own hideout or your safe space. Engage yourself in things you love – things like music, games, art, and even poetry.
Find A Healthy Distraction
You will no more pay attention to their fights once you have found a distraction. When you see parents arguing at home, make yourself busy with things that make you feel good. You should think about things that make you feel better.
For instance, you can leave the house and go for a walk. Reading a book or watching a movie are also not bad ideas. The best among them all is meeting a friend. Having friends around at moments like this is close to having an escape route.
Talk To Others About It
I know it is easier said than done. But it is a matter of time before everything falls apart. The best action, at this moment, would be to talk to someone about your distress. Try reaching out to a counselor or a GP.
There are many hotlines and chat services ready to help kids with arguing parents. No, there is no need to be afraid. You will not get into trouble just by talking g about these problems. In fact, you can expect help.
Ways To Reduce The Effects
It often happens that a fight gets out of hand and you say something without even realizing that your kid is listening from the other side. If it happens once or twice, that does not mean that they have been scarred for life, but if you know that you have said something that your kid should have not listened then there are a few steps that you can take.
Discuss The Fight
I am not asking you to go into the details, just get them to your room, and talk to them together. Make them understand that you both were having an argument and it did not mean anything. It is not going to affect anything, and that you both are working out the disagreements that you had.
Make them understand that it was just a disagreement, it was nothing more than that. Reassure them that the family dynamics are still the same, their love for them has not decreased in any way and that their family is going to be the same no matter what.
Tell your children that you are still going strong, it is a strong family, and even though there are misunderstandings and disagreements sometimes, that does not mean that the family is breaking. Let them know in bits and pieces how a couple might fight someone over something. And that does not mean that they are not in love anymore.
Children whose parents are always arguing should know that they are not responsible for any of those fights. No matter how intense the fight is, it is not your fault, and you are a brave and beautiful child. If you feel distressed, try the simple coping mechanisms shared in this article. You can also talk to other elders like your teacher or close adult relatives.
I hope that this article was helpful. If you have any doubts or queries on the topic, feel free to reach out to us in the comment section below.
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