When parents of a child don’t see eye to eye – Part 2
Posted on: October 5, 2018. Comments ( 1 )

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Children need to be allowed to develop a relationship with both parents, regardless of how parents feel about each other. If one parent constantly badgers the other with blame words, the parent-child-relationship of the criticized parent—more often also the criticizing parent—may weaken. The child may also resent the parent who is criticizing. Subsequently, they cease respecting that parent, more so as they grow up.

Consequently, all these factors are detrimental to the child’s mental health and also to good parent-child relationship. Children have to be shielded from facing such parental conflicts. Parents need to exercise self-control over their emotional outbursts when children are around or even within earshot. Sensitive, private issues are to be discussed in private meetings with, maybe, counsellors, doctors, and lawyers.

Healthy communication skills—expressing ideas and feelings, active listening, problem solving, negotiating, and conflict resolution strategies—are to be necessarily practised among parents. Only parents have to model this healthy style of communicating among themselves. Hostility and conflicts will turn to respect and cooperation, setting a happy tone in the family. Differences of opinion will be there and it’s okay. That which matters truly, is how we handle it in a constructive manner. Modelling this will have a tremendous positive impact in the lives of children.

Parents have to be honest with their children in a brief yet reassuring manner and help the child realize that they still love them as much as ever before. Otherwise, being egocentric, they will imagine that the conflict is all because of them and get immensely stressed about it. Furthermore, one parent criticizing the other, makes children guilty about loving each of them. They would take it as a personal attack as it is a put-down of that aspect of their own self that identifies with the other parent. It spoils their self-esteem and weakens the parent-child relationship/bond.

By avoiding conflicts, parents teach their children that they respect each other’s differences, teach empathy, and respect individual opinions. This is an important life lesson. Also, the lurking danger of one child aligning with one parent, leads to an unhealthy family structure where one parent has turned the child against the other parent. A child cannot be treated as a parent’s confidante. Although the need of the hour may warrant a child’s support, parents shouldn’t resort to this temptation.

The message children need to see and hear is that you’re in control and you know what you’re doing. After all, they’re children, and we are adults dealing with an adult problem. And kids just need to be kids. Children learn to deal with anger from the way their parents do. Strategies to be able to express and control anger appropriately is a must learn for all – child and adult, alike.

Conclusively, parent need to seek help for themselves. The tremendous stress of chronic parental conflict affects one’s parenting skills. Counselling—individual, group, or tandem—will help a lot to ease out any emotional stress. Parents with differing parenting styles can still learn to work together to stay together. Why, even the children may be taken for counselling through play therapy. Only by this way may children be helped to come to terms with their painful memories.

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Comments (1)


    T.r.sudha says:

    I totally agree. Most of us parents try to keep our cool on most occasions but sometimes we do get emotional and temperamental. I think constantly checking posts like these will keep us on the right track. Good one.

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