This article is a write up of Rachel Lucas-Thompson, Erika Lunkenheimer, and I’s research written by Fatima Virrey in News Break
Parents’ arguments can have severe effects on children, specifically teenagers. According to research led by a family therapist, Tasha Seiter, parents’ disagreements can make teenagers anxious and depressed.
In most cases, fights between parents will have little to no adverse effects on children. But, when parents’ arguments are shouting, getting angry with each other, always giving each other the silent treatment, problems can sometimes arise.
The UK and international research that were done many years ago found out that as young as six months, children exposed to conflict may have increased heart rates and can be prone to stress.
The problems caused by parents’ arguments
Babies, children, and teenagers can also show signs of sleeping problems, anxiety, depression, behavior disorder, and other severe issues resulting from living with formidable parental conflict.
In the research that Seiter and her partners have done, it showed that in children, the tension between parents might cause a tendency to give focus on certain things in the environment over others, which can make teenagers anxious for years to come.
The research findings
In their research, teenagers were asked to view a lot of photos of couples together. In some photographs, the reaction was neutral, some were happy talks, and some were angry. Using an eye-tracking tool, they tracked which photos that teenagers tended to look at and how long they spent looking at each one.
When they scan the results, they found out that when parents show more negative conflicts such as parents’ arguments, it makes teenagers anxious at a higher level. When parents were more negative in their fight, teens spent less time looking at the happy couple talks. And when parents were less positive in their battle, their teens spent more time attending to angry discussions.
When parents’ arguments are shown in front of the teens, it alarms their sense of security. This will make them feel unsure about the future of their family, as well as their ability to form safe relationships in the present or in the future. This new research said that when parents’ arguments and conflicts were shown, these can make teenagers anxious now or in the years to come, and become alert to angry reactions.
How can parents resolve this?
For parents, it is customary to argue or not agree with each other sometimes. Children react well when parents explain or settle – in the right way – what their fight was about during that time. When parents solve their disputes, children can learn important lessons that can help them know their own emotions and handle other relationships.
So, if you find yourself in tension with your partner, think about working on how you can handle your conflicts now. Couples therapy can help you communicate better with each other and help you have a better bond. The right changes from these are not only for both of you. That can also be for your children and for the generations to come as well.
Here is a link to the full article: