Weird as it may seem, this is exactly what you will be doing by constantly carrying on quarrels and fights with your spouse at your home. Your children, no matter what their ages, tend to develop a sense of low self-esteem (at times self-hatred), nervousness, constant anxiety and stress. They can also end up in bad marriages themselves much later.
You may be quarrelling for many reasons. You may always be right every time you fight with your spouse (although I highly doubt it). But if you care for your children, the quarrelling’s got to stop.
For children home is a place where love and care is nourished. It is also a sacred refuge for children. They come running home if they get hurt, if they are scolded in school, if they are teased during play and if they feel lonely among friends. But constant quarrelling at that very home creates a tensed atmosphere and it makes the children highly anxious. Because they do not know when they would hear angry voices and shouts next, they are always on edge. What children learn very early at home, they translate it to the world outside home. They grow to be anxious and nervous whenever voices grow loud in any place. They become nervous around any sort of arguments between any strangers too.
Secondly, many children end up blaming themselves for the quarrels of their parents. They assume they are somehow responsible for the tensions at home and consequently develop low self-esteem or at times it goes to the point of self-hatred.
Their low self-esteem is further strengthened by the constant grumbling and muttering of one parent. It is common that in most quarrelling partners, one usually ends up nagging and grouching with a sour-faced expression long after the quarrel is over. This parent also snaps back at children venting his/her anger at the kids. The kids are at a loss to cope with this situation and they blame themselves over and over.
In some cases, the parents also end up dragging the children into the arguments. Each demands the child to support him/her and tends to speak about the defects of the other parent. The child is caught in between. Though in such cases the child never asked to give a verdict nor is admonished for being silent, the child nevertheless suffers lot of pain and anxiety because of being a witness to the dispute and having to hear the angry and ugly tone of voices up close.
And never assume you can fight after the child has gone to sleep, even if the child is sleeping in another room. A child instantly wakes the moment first word of the argument breaks out. Commonly you can also see the child pulls the blanket over itself and notice properly you will also make out the outline of the child pressing hands over his/her ears tightly. They are just wishing they were elsewhere in the world but there.
The anxiety, alienation, low self-esteem (or self hatred), and nervousness your nasty fights create in your child lasts for many years – in many cases into adulthood. Another long term consequence is that many of these children, when they grow up, unconsciously find themselves in similar marriages. There is a reason why this happens.
Though the children hate to hear the quarrel while it is happening, their subconscious is quietly absorbing the ways with which disagreements in a marriage are dealt with. It is learning how to survive if it gets caught in a similar circumstance in future. Now for subconscious what is known is pleasurable and what is unknown is painful. By living amidst quarrelling parents it now knows how to behave during disagreement. But it hasn’t learned how to live harmoniously. When the child grows up and marries, he/she starts unconsciously behaving the same way his/her parent did during a problem – even though he/she may not want to do that consciously.
So the next time you are getting into a bitter altercation with your spouse think what is at stake for you as well as for your children.
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