Married (and fighting) with Children

I have met some really neat people this year. Like Otis. And Santa Clause. And Emily Patridge, M.M.F.T., a pre-licensed and under supervision child therapist in Nashville, TN.

She is a part of the Tartar Sauce Club (even though she hasn’t made it to a meeting yet, dang prayer meetings!). Since she is a pre-licensed child therapist and this blog is quickly becoming All Baby All the Time, I thought it’d be fun to have her answer questions about kids, parenting and survival (for both us and them). Also, SHE HAS A PLAYROOM. So cool.
Anyways, Emily, I’m turning it over to you!

Me Random Parent:
No parent in their heart of hearts wants to confuse or hurt their baby (or young children). Even if the parents aren’t yellers, heated discussions and/or arguments can be very dramatic, confusing and hurtful for babies and children.
How can a couple fight now that they have a baby/children in the house? 
parents fighting
Emily: Well, I think that it is very wise to be cautious and concerned about the way spouses disagree and/or work out their problems in front of their children. Even though some may disagree with me, I encourage all parents to go ahead and disagree with each other especially in front of their child(ren). I think that taking the squabble into another part of the house or waiting until the child is asleep or at the Grandparent’s house would be a huge disservice to the little one if the baby (or even older child) never witnessed Mommy and Daddy not seeing eye to eye.

I think that it is important to try and stay calm when having a dispute, often bringing in humor into the conversation can lighten the tone or even change the mood of the argument. But, it’s quite all right to let your fighting have an emotional tone to it. You let your child see you when you are laughing, when you are quiet, when you are excited- why wouldn’t you let your child see you when you are upset or angry? By letting your child see you (and your husband) display all emotions, you are setting prescience for your child’s emotional life. Emotions are all great; it’s the behaviors that come from the emotions that parent’s need to be careful with.

So, I encourage you to let your feelings be known and to state your point of view to your spouse BUT I caution you and your spouse not to scream, holler, throw things, name call, slam doors, jump in the car and spin the tires or heaven forbid threaten or physically harm one another. Why not try to calmly communicate with one another? Letting the fight get ugly doesn’t make your argument a better case, actually it makes you seem like an uneducated fool who is out of control. Trying to compromise, ahem, actually learning to compromise with one another, taking turns and backing down (even though you know you are right) are more than likely the skills that you want your children to have and to use when interacting with his peers. I challenge you to model these behaviors for your children, as we all know children learn by our examples and the examples of behavior shown to them not just by what we tell them to do.

Emily Patridge

Emily Patridge Counseling is a safe place for children to engage in therapeutic play, for parents to receive guidance, support and counsel, and for teens and adults of all ages and stages to repair themselves with the help of an honest, nonthreatening guide. 
2209 Crestmoor Road, Suite 320 
Nashville, TN 37215

2 thoughts on “Married (and fighting) with Children

  1. Rebecca says:

    Wonderful advice, Emily. It IS natural to hide disagreements, but you’re right – a child must learn how to handle conflict, and the home is a much better place to do so than TV, movies, video games, etc.

  2. Thanks for your comment, Rebecca 🙂

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