Parents may wonder if it’s “okay” to fight in front of their kids. Listen, arguments and disputes happen (usually in the car when my husband thinks he’s Dale Earnhardt Jr.) in the vast majority of marriages. It’s just part of the deal.
Sometimes, those fights and arguments happen in front of our kids. It happens sometimes. It’s kind of unavoidable. For a long time, fighting in front of children was a big no-no. However, today, there are some parents who intentionally make sure their kids see them argue.
Nika Diwa and her husband went viral recently for admitting that they argue in front of their kids, and they encourage all other parents to do the same though it might be an “unpopular opinion.”
Diwa makes it clear that she doesn’t mean name-calling, abusive language, or anything that they do not consider “healthy” when it comes to conflict. Conflict in any relationship is inevitable, and if kids can see a good example of conflict resolution, they’re being set up for success in the future. They also see that if mom and dad end up in a tricky spot, they will be ok.
“It’s important for kids to learn how to navigate healthy conflict,” Diwa wrote in text overlay on a video of she and her husband in the middle of an argument while their daughter is close by.
“We let them watch mom and dad disagree respectfully and work towards unity and resolution. This helps set them up for healthy conflict resolution as they grow up.”
After the video took off, a discourse began about the nuances of a “fight” versus a “disagreement,” as well as people who just straight up were not buying what Diwa was selling.
“Do not fight in front of your kids. Yes! they are meant to think things are perfect, they are meant to only see love and adoration for each other. especially when they are young. do not expose your kids to the emotional turmoil of even the smallest disagreements,” one user said.
“I think kids can witness disagreements/conversations, not arguments/fights,” one user wrote.
Another wrote, “Difference in FIGHTING in front of your children and Communicating infront of your children.”
Other users agreed with Diwa, saying they wished they’d have experienced parents who showed the good and bad.
“My parents did this but they wouldn’t resolve it in front of us so we just always thought they were fighting,” one user wrote.
According to Melissa Benaroya, MSW, LICSW, fighting in front of your children is okay — as long as the fight is handled in a certain way.
“If arguments happen frequently or they are hostile, physical, aggressive, or include stonewalling, silent treatment, or insults, it can definitely be harmful to children. Children who are exposed to this type of conflict will often become anxious, distressed, sad, angry, and depressed,” she said.
“Children learn to manage conflict by observing how the adults in their life manage disagreements and strong emotions.”
When parents can properly regulate a disagreement, see each other’s sides through empathy, and come out on the other side with a healthy resolution, that is the kind of model kids will take forward in life as they grow up and find themselves in their own disagreements and arguments.