BBC: “How parents’ arguments really affect their children”

It is normal for parents to argue, but the way these disagreements affect children varies greatly. What can parents and carers do to limit the harm caused by their rows?

What happens at home really does affect children’s long-term mental health and development.

But it is not only the relationship between the parent and child that is important.

How parents get on with each other also plays a big role in a child’s wellbeing, with the potential to affect everything from mental health to academic success and future relationships.

Read the full BBC article

But when parents shout and are angry with each other, when they consistently withdraw or give each other the “silent treatment”, problems can sometimes arise.

UK and international research conducted over several decades through observations in the home, long-term follow up work and experimental studies, suggests that from as young as six months, children exposed to conflict may have increased heart rates and stress hormone responses.

Infants, children and adolescents can show signs of disrupted early brain development, sleep disturbance, anxiety, depression, conduct disorder and other serious problems as a result of living with severe or chronic inter-parental conflict.

Rows about children

What does all of this mean for parents?

First, it is important to recognise that it is perfectly normal for parents and carers to argue or disagree with each other.

However, when parents engage in conflicts with each other that are frequent, intense and not resolved, children do less well.

Even more so if the row is about children, for example where children blame themselves or feel at fault for the arguments.

These negative effects can include sleep disturbance and disrupted early brain development for infants, anxiety and conduct problems for primary school children, and depression and academic problems and other serious issues, such as self-harm, for older children and adolescents.

Read the full BBC article

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