It’s Ok to Let Your Children See You Fight

By Sharon Jackson

The New York Times Blog featured an article, “It’s Ok To Let Your Children Fight.” Click here  to read the full article. Conflict in any form is always a delicate matter to navigate well, and when children are involved, it requires even more skill.

Psychiatrist, Barbara Bartlik, M.D. had this to say about fighting in front of children: “Some children are traumatized by hearing their parents argue, especially when the arguments turn abusive or violent. The effect on children is worse when they are the subject of the dispute. Often, they assume that their parents are arguing about them, even when they are not.”

“Elizabeth Weil in her article,”It’s O.K. for Children to See Their Parents Fight?,” points out that exposing children to a certain amount of arguing may actually be beneficial. It teaches children to stand up for themselves, and that their feelings are important. This is particularly meaningful for girls, who hesitate to express their opinions. Children of both genders learn how to compromise and negotiate by observing their parents argue constructively. They also realize that parents can have very different opinions, while continuing to love and respect one another. In addition, children find it reassuring when their parents make up.”

“I tell the couples I treat in therapy that they should reassure their children that it is normal for parents to argue, that even when they are angry they still love one another, and that the children are not the reason for the argument.”

Does Shacking Up, Prior to Marriage Predict Long Term Success?

Posted by Sharon Jackson

When my cousin Ari got married ten years ago, I sat next to my Uncle Al, who then was about 80.  He was always sharp and witty, as he was handsome in a Clark Gable sort of way. We got around to talking about my personal life, as this is one of the favorite topics of many of my older relatives.  When you’re single or dating, as I was at the time, your older relatives all want to know, when you’re getting married or why aren’t you married. I had learned to take these well intended interrogations with a sense of humor. 

Science Daily, an online research journal has an article, “Couples who Co-habit, before Engagement, are more likely to Struggle,” offers some reasons why this happens.  The three top reasons couples stated for living together were 1) To spend more time together, 2) convenience and 3) to test the relationship.  To read the entire article, go to: www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090713144122.htm.

Licensed Psychotherapist, Linda Garcia-Rose has this to say, “To live together or not to live together,” that is the question for today.  Some research has shown that couples living together before marriage and/or engagement have a higher chance of dissatisfaction and divorce in their marriages.  I find that it would be very difficult and hard work after the, “Honeymoon period wears off.  I believe that it is imperative, for individuals in a constructive, successful relationship, to have an understanding of their REAL needs and wants.  To understand what you really want and what you do not want by looking deeply into the self, independent of outside pressures, norms and rituals.”

Garica-Rose continues, “If you feel forced or will resent something, think very deeply about your decisions. Then agreeing and setting boundaries about living together, your commitment to one another and the future would all be keys to success.  Bottom line, is if you do not spend a significant amount of time working individually and together to make your relationship successful, it will probably end up like over 50% of failed relationships independent of whether you live together or not before marriage.”