Couple admits they fight in front of their kids and encourage other parents to do the same
When disagreements turn into full on fights, with name calling and yelling, it can be a very painful and stressful experience for the kid. But if handled well, it could be a chance to see how mom and dad can navigate through inevitable difficulties, instilling an example for the future.
Nika Diwa and her husband seem to share the latter stance, sharing in a now viral TikTok that they do “fight” in front of their kids, and in their “unpopular opinion” think other parents should do the same.
In the clip, it seems that Diwa and her husband are having a disagreement, but one that never results in any kind of abusive behavior, and instead seems to end on a fairly positive note. All while their child rests in her lap.
“It’s important for kids to learn how to navigate healthy conflict,” Diwa writes. “We let them watch mom and dad disagree respectfully and work towards unity and resolution. This helps set them up for healthy conflict resolution as they grow up.”
And here’s where we get into a bit of discourse over semantics. Diwa’s video soon spurned comments arguing that what she and her husband actually showed was a disagreement, not a fight at all. Which folks generally concurred was the healthy option. But actual fighting would have been another story.
Others noted how even non-hostile arguments could still be triggering depending on the topic. One person wrote, “I think it depends. I have a lot of trauma from listening to my parents argue about finances.”
Still, many viewers noted how this was a refreshing take compared to how they grew up. “As some whose parents always tried to hide their arguments, this is SO wonderful. Healthy conflict resolution. It’s ok to disagree,” one person commented.
And what do experts think? In her contributing article for the Gottman Institute, Melissa Benaroya, MSW, LICSW, writes that indeed, arguing in front of your kid can actually be beneficial, depending on HOW the argument is handled.
“If arguments happen frequently or they are hostile, physical, aggressive, or include stonewalling, silent treatment, or insults, it can definitely be harmful to children,” she says. “Children who are exposed to this type of conflict will often become anxious, distressed, sad, angry, and depressed.”
However, she notes that “children learn to manage conflict by observing how the adults in their life manage disagreements and strong emotions,” suggesting that if parents do develop good communication strategies, ones that focus on collaboration, empathy and perspective-taking, listening and validating feelings, that it can help kids understand how to emulate a similar behavior.
No parent is going to be perfect at all times. And perhaps seeing how to handle all those inevitable imperfections of adulthood with grace and compassion is one of the greatest gifts parents can pass down to children.
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