Parenting: How to handle conflict with your partner when you become parents

Well if this isn't a topic that you generally hear nothing about? Quelle surprise, say I, as for some reason we tend to gloss over the more 'real' aspects of life in order to appear perfect on the outside.

God forbid we should admit that we have conflicts with our partners and that sometimes our children happen to be around when they arise. 

Yes we all have a general sense that arguing in front of kids is not good, and the occasional time it does happen we may be consumed with guilt over it. For others arguing is as normal as asking what's for dinner that night. If you grew up witnessing conflicts, you may not even know what is a healthy way to deal with it or know that it could be a problem for your children if not addressed with tact.

If you had a traumatic childhood, you may have heard and seen arguments that were explosive, abusive, violent or full of rage. You may have seen emotional warfare at its worst. Or if you came from a single parent household you may not have witnessed any respectful conflict resolution to base your future relationships on.

Of course, it does matter that we don't pretend that conflicts don't happen or that occasionally we don't get a bit grumpy. Children are far more perceptive than we give them credit for. Does your child ever show signs of anger? I hate to break it to you but they are witnessing it somewhere.

The best way we can deal with it is to be authentic. If we are feeling upset with our partner, we can try to ask for a time when the kids are in bed to talk, or step away from them for a few moments, but if things bubble up in front the kids, as sometimes things do (We are emotional beings not robots after all!) these are things we can say to help everyone process what has happened.

'Mummy and I are frustrated with each other right now but remember how you have felt frustrated in the past and we have always worked it out. Mummy and I will work it out.'

'Dad and I are having a difficult time understanding each other but I respect dad and will keep trying to understand'

'Mum and I are having a disagreement but that is normal and we will work it out.'

'Dad and I need a few minutes to step away and talk so we can be clear about what we want to say to each other'

'Mummy was angry with me because I hurt her feelings and I said I was very sorry so she has forgiven me.'

'Daddy and I were having a hard time working together but we have a plan now and feel much better'

Dealing with arguments in this way makes clear that we are respecting and considering everyone involved and leaving kids reassured that we know they have noticed something and that we are dealing with.

It is so important that we don't dampen children's ability to read moods and dynamics as it protect them through adolescence and as adults. Telling them there is nothing wrong only opens them up to losing sight of their own internal compass and instincts, which are vital for staying safe and happy in later life and throughout their relationships.

Hope you've found this sort of thing useful. As always I just want to help shine a light on real life but let me know if this is something you might like to see more of in the future.

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