The negative effects on children when their parents fight in front of them

The discussions between couples are excessively normal, but when there are children involved you have to stop and think about how to handle them, as they could have a negative impact on your physical and mental health.

In general, when the parents cordially discuss the child, it is seen little or nothing affected. However, when the environment becomes aggressive and there are screams or parents who do not speak, everything changes; this is what some scientific studies have shown.

An article published by Professor Gordon Harold in conjunction with the academic Ruth Sellers in the  Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry  defends this thesis.

The  analysis  of Harold, conducted for  BBC World ,  on the consequences that exercise fights and arguments of parents over their children  threw very revealing data. Next, we present the conclusions reached by the expert.


In his research article, Harold said that since 1930 the psychology of children has been analyzed and the incidence of confrontations between parents, which includes a series of experimental works and long-term follow-up.

Most results agree that  children who are exposed to conflict experience an increase in heart rate and may even have hormonal imbalances  due to stress. This can begin to occur at very young ages, even in children as young as six months.

Other more severe effects are the risk of delays in brain development, anxiety, behavior problems, insomnia and depression. Even when children are spectators of less intense fights, but for longer periods, they may present the same disorders.

Children live conflicts differently than girls, according to scientists.

On the other hand, according to the researcher, there is a notable difference in how children and girls experience disputes. In an article published in the journal of psychology  Child Development , Harold commented that males have to manifest problems in their behavior, while girls have greater emotional implications.

On the other hand,  divorce or separation  of parents is one of the worst scenarios from the point of view of a child, said the academic. But Harold agrees with Mervyn Murch, a colleague, that it is the discussions, rather than the separation itself, that affects the smallest proportion in a greater proportion. This assertion was limited in the publication  El niño y la ley familiar .

Silence, also a problem

The opposite pole is not ideal either. While discussions greatly affect a man’s psychology, there are other things that can harm him. When a relationship cools and the parents decide not to talk,  emotional behavior and emotional problems may also appear in the children.

The family situation can lead to a decline in the academic performance of minors.

He also professor of the University of Sussex, based in England, said that the quality of the relationship between parents also influences. This element can establish a pattern of behavior that will end up repeating itself between generations.

How to avoid it?

Many studies have concluded that children are able to quickly detect the behavior of their parents. Harold said that, even when discussions are held behind closed doors, they know something is not right.

In that sense, he opined that the most important thing would be how children can interpret and understand the possible causes and consequences of conflicts. What does this mean? When a child can identify those elements, he will be able to know if a fight can get worse, if they will end up involved or if, under greater circumstances, this could jeopardize the stability of his family.

Divorces and conflicts do not have to be traumatic if confrontations are avoided and the reasons for the disagreement are explained to the children.

The best way to reduce the effect of a fight in a child is to  tackle the problem from a pedagogical point of view . Disagreements are normal for humans and as long as parents understand this better, they can pass it on to their children. Harold said that  children have a better response when the cause of an argument is clarified  and how to resolve it than when it is hidden.

Finally, the expert indicated that by explaining how a fight or discussion can be solved, parents give a valuable tool to their children that will definitely have a positive impact on their future, beyond the family environment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *