Why We Argue In Front Of Our Kids

why-we-argue-in-front-of-kids

My household has issues with boundaries. Doors stay open. Yep, even the bathroom door. There’s no shame in this house.

That’s why my husband and I aren’t afraid to argue in front of our kids. It’s human nature to show anger, irritation, frustration, hurt, and sadness. Arguments are spontaneous. I never know in advance when my husband is going to make a smart-a*s comment about why I left the wet towels in the wash overnight. He evidently doesn’t know when I’m going bark annoyances while he’s on the sh*tter for 30 minutes. He angers me. I anger him.  It’s a damn annoying merry-go-round of irritations.

But, there’s beauty to the arguments. Let’s face it: I wouldn’t care so freaking much if I didn’t adore the guy.  As a child, I never saw my parents argue. I can’t recall a moment that I saw my mother cry. So, the day that I came home from school and saw her packing our things because we were leaving was an utter shock. I couldn’t grasp that there wasn’t happiness in a home that never showed despair. The boundaries of my childhood home fooled me.

When I became a mother, I felt obligated to show the variety of human emotions to my children. There had to be openness with our emotions because if my kids saw my fears than they could express theirs. Anger was no different. We don’t choose the emotion that we feel at any given moment of time. They’re a part of our being, just like the color of our eyes. Anger paves a way to forgiveness. It shows that a person can feel complete displeasure yet love so much that they find peace.

My kids see the pain in my eyes escaping as tears from the a*shole remark from their dad. He said something rude. And it hurt. My tears turn into hostile words. My backbone becomes a razor blade.

It’s boldness. My kids are being taught to stand up for themselves.

My husband words turn into groveling and redirection. He’s re-evaluating the effect of his words. He sees the pain that they have caused.

That’s remorse. My kids are being taught to admit if they are in the wrong.

I can see my husband’s repentance. His emotions took over, and I notice this was not his intentions.

That’s understanding. My kids are being taught to find compassion in a person’s mistake.

My husband and I find common ground. We’ve redirected our anger into listening to understand each other’s point of view.

That’s closure. My kids are being taught to repair the damage they’ve caused.

We are teaching our children the beautiful dance of respectful arguments. Our fights show them as parents, we are human, and we have flaws. I don’t know if I will regret arguing with my husband in front of them in the years to come. Could they resent the openness like I did the secrets in my childhood? Absolutely. I’m a human that doesn’t have any of the answers for parenting. I’m winging it. When my kids start to complain about seeing my floppy boobs in the kitchen, I’ll put on a bra. That’s what we do in the house. We communicate. And, if they ever take issue with these arguments, they’ll know they can say so.

Photo: Getty