As parents, our job is to teach our children how to become high functioning adults who are good members of society and hopefully strong believers in Christ. All of these things mean that we should not hide normal parts of life from our children, but instead teach them about them and how to do them well, even the less desirable parts of life.
Marriage can be difficult at times, and even the perfect marriage has its fair share of arguments. I know people who grew up never seeing their parents argue and when they became adults, they had a difficult time when arguments arose in their own relationships. They were unsure how to argue respectfully in an adult relationship, and some even thought that an argument meant the end of their relationship! To me this is a failure on the part of the parents to teach them about adult life. All relationships are going to involve disagreement, and it is important to know how to cope. I do agree that there are parts of marriage that should be private between the husband and wife only, but I don’t think that all arguments should be quietly hidden away from the children.
So when these arguments arise in front of your babies or young children, what do you do?
A yelling match with your spouse is not going to be good for anyone in this situation. Keep your calm and if you start to feel really heated, then this might be an argument to have later in private. That waiting time may help you to calm down as well.
Think Before You Speak
Name calling is not something you want to teach your children, especially if you are calling your spouse names. They will learn that it is ok for them to call people mean things when they are upset, and that is not something we want to instill in them! Pausing before saying anything gives you a chance to be sure that what you say will be respectful and will mirror the behavior you would like to see in your children when they are upset.
Kiss and Make Up
Resolution is such an important part of arguments for children to see! Not only does it teach them that arguments and disagreements can be constructive, it also teaching them that mommy and daddy do still love each other and that being upset doesn’t mean the end of a relationship. It is also such a beautiful picture of Christ’s reconciliation to us in our sin! You can even use this opportunity to point out this gospel picture to your children.
I know that none of these things are easy to do when you are upset, and that is ok! Parenthood is a time of growing and learning for you as well as for your little babe. Even without children around these are all such important rules to keep in mind when disagreements arise. A healthy marriage is vital and is something your children can learn so much from seeing. Have you argued in front of your children before? How did it go? Let me know in the comments and don’t forget if you have any questions you can always Ask a Bestie!