Should you argue in front of your kids?

Published Wednesday, 29 January 2014
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New research has found quarrelling parents who fail to resolve their arguments are leaving their children at risk of long-term mental health problems. But is arguing something all children should experience? This Morning debates whether or not you should argue in front of your kids.

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Joining hosts Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby in the studio, journalist Liz Fraser said that children should be subjected to their parents conflicts because it will teach them how to deal with them in the future.

The mum-of-three said that while it would be ideal to never have to deal with arguing in any part of your life, it is inevitable and children need to learn how to cope.

"Ideally we would never argue in front of our children and ideally we would never argue at all and the whole world would be lovely," she said.

"But we have to remember what we are doing when we are raising children and we are trying to teach them how the world works.

"So when they are not in the cosy world of their own home, they can deal with the real world.

"And, like it or not, arguing and disagreeing with people, and having confrontation, is a part of life and they will experience it at some time.

"We need to prepare them for that... (and) it is actually very helpful, oddly enough, for children to have experience of this."

Liz added that while she would not condone children witnessing constant, heated rows between parents, having the odd argument in front of your children would be beneficial.

She said: "It's how you argue that is important, and resolving an argument is so important.

"If children don't see that the argument has come to an end, you are releasing a lot of people into the world who are thinking an argument is the end of the world."

Fellow journalist Sally Jones disagreed with this view and said it is wrong to row in front of your children as it upsets them and can make them insecure and miserable.

She challenged Liz's view that it depends on the way you argue, saying that children are not capable of noting the difference.

"I really think that when children are very young they can't actually distinguish between what is a good bit of knock-about fun and the normal guerrilla low-level arguments that we might have with our husbands, and whether or not they are about to get divorced.

"My husband and I would argue like every other couple, but we do try to make it more of a discussion rather than an argument.

"I've seen children totally robbed of their self-esteem because they have been in the middle of regular parental rows. They have been used as pawns or they have felt that they were somehow responsible for the arguments.

"And very often this is carried on to their thirties and forties, people see their mothers or fathers nagging and nagging and they think that is the way to conduct a relationship."

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