THE BLOG
01/31/2014 04:03 pm ET | Updated Apr 02, 2014

Should You Argue in Front of Your Kids?

anzeletti via Getty Images

Is the big debate at the moment, bought again to the forefront by new research which suggests that couples who fail to resolve their arguments leave their children at risk of mental health problems.

I dislike the word argument because I think that a less aggressive term is disagreement. When I think of arguments, I think of my parents shouting and screaming and me lying in bed crying hoping to distract my Mum enough for her to come in to me so that the shouting would stop. Both would shout until they were spent and there would be no resolve.

Nothing is achieved by shouting, apart from stress. In fact, I myself, and I'm sure many others, switch off when someone raises their voice to a level that we find uncomfortable and disturbing for our ears.

Arguments, to me, are when both sides shout with neither listening. I see no reason why any adult should argue. My opinion is that it can ever be constructive or OK, especially in front of children. When you are in the heat of the moment, neither party has the capacity to reason and/or compromise.

A difference of opinion shouldn't mean an argument, it should suggest a disagreement, which prompts discussion and debate, with both sides listening to the other, without interruption, and then working together to resolve the issue through compromise, empathy and understanding.

I believe it would set a much better example and be less stressful for children if this happened.

To teach them that just because others are reactive and aggressive they can make a choice to be calm and reasonable and walk away until both parties are able to talk without raised voices to discuss the disagreement is far more healthy and beneficial than exposing them to arguments.

I believe children need to see that both parents respect each other and are willing to listen to each other and address and deal with disagreements as they arise, to hopefully avoid any pent up anger, so things are kept in perspective.

The danger is many people bottle small things up and then they mount up, until one person flips over what is seemingly the smallest thing.

On the other side it's worth bearing in mind that the atmosphere in the house between two parents not speaking at all is unpleasant for children, and just as damaging if not more so to their mental health and future relationships.

Any disagreements involving the children also shouldn't be done in front of children, as parents need to show a united front.

So for children to see parents daily working through any disagreements and niggles they may have in a calm and controlled way will help them feel much more settled.

I'm interested to hear what you think and your reasons why - do you agree or disagree with couples arguing in front of children?