Fights affecting children

It is common for parents to argue. Parents don’t always agree on everything and that is accepted. But what happens when parents continually fight, bicker, or even try to point score?

Having been there myself, it’s almost too painful to watch, but what parents don’t seem to understand that for each fight, for each crossed word, for all of their point scoring, it’s the children that come off worst. Sadly, where a child might be expected to sympathise with one parent, they will be expected to side against the other.

It is made all the worse of course, when a parent tries to win over a child to make the other parent look bad. Where parents continually fight, they may use one of their children to do their bidding. Not a lot of thought is given to what’s said or received by either parent, but when the gloves are off, there is usually no holding back.

When children leave home and their parents’ lives move forward, the dynamics to the relationship often change. Without the distractions that come with raising a family and having time on their hands for them to look inwards, parents may often see their lives differently. But fighting is not only unhealthy for the parents, but also unhealthy for children and where children get caught in the cross-fire, emotionally they will begin to struggle.

Where there is continual conflict by the parents and the conflict is centred around the children, the children will internalise and make their parents’ issues about them and that then becomes a mental health issue.


19 May, 2018

4 thoughts on “Fights affecting children

  1. Yes, that was the kind of world I grew up in, where my parents were always fighting and expecting us to take sides which was a nightmare, to put it mildly.

    We were constantly used as pawns in the middle of their never ending discussion of getting a divorce, which I wish they would have done and gotten it over with. This is exactly why I cringe so much, when I hear a parent berating their child because it brings up so many horrible memories.

    This was obviously what caused my mental health issues to become so extreme, seeing as they didn’t have a clue as to what kind of damage they were causing.

    I would have much rather been physically abused, since at least that pain goes away and the scars would have actually healed by now.

    1. Thanks Randy. Although this blog is about my life, I was thinking about your experiences also, when I wrote it.

      I agree with you. Any fighting or heated arguments in this way, can cause mental health issues. In the early days, those issues aren’t apparent, but the more parents fight, the more their children will end up with mental health issues.

      I think what saved me from the elements, was my ability to rationale my own experiences, so that I didn’t make my parents’ issues about me.

      Although it’s not right Randy, we must find a way to work through our own issues, so history doesn’t repeat itself with our children.

      I don’t think any type of abuse is easy. I still believe whether it’s mental abuse or physical abuse, there is still an element of mental abuse tied to both situations.

      All anyone can do is work on themselves and make themselves stronger, in the hope that they can reconcile their experiences.

      And although parents must to do the same, not all parents will.

  2. Parents often disagree, but it is wrong to bring a child into any parental disagreement and to use that child as ‘ammunition’ in a fight.

    A parents’ job is to protect their child, not expose him to harm.

    1. Sadly, and my experiences have shown that this what parents do. There has been so much in the media recently, with celebrities and the Royal Family championing mental health, if parents (and that’s where it starts) got the parenting thing right, there wouldn’t be a need for mental health.

      It has come to light in the last few years and it continues to be that way for children that they are exposed to emotional harm. There are parents who do get it right, but not enough to make a difference.

      I find it sad that in the 21st century, society and the world are dealing with issues that should have been assigned to the history books.

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