Parenting and the Cost of Conflict:

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Parenting and the Cost of Conflict:  The Emotional Impact of Fighting -- Even When Your Kids Don’t See It Directly:

When looking at parenting and the cost of conflict, it is your kids who pay. Even if the fights don’t happen in front of kids, the effect is the same. 

Kids don’t do well when their parents are in high conflict. 

The answer is to not be in high conflict. Period. 

Do you ever notice that you can walk into a room and feel the tension despite everyone in the room denying that anything is wrong? 

Everyone is being polite, seemingly calm, and everything seems okay on the surface?  On the surface everything seems okay, but you know, really, that it is not?  This is despite you asking if everything is okay and everyone in the room assuring you that it is?  

Well, this experience is because in your heart, you know that the situation is not okay.  You have obviously walked into a room with tension and conflict.  You feel it, experience it, and know it is there.  This is regardless of anyone in the room admitting it. 

This is the kind of experience kids have when their parents are at war despite their parents not having their war “in front” of the children.  Kids feel the tension, experience it, and know it.  

Any parent who is text-fighting with their ex, sending missile emails or shooting dirty looks etc. who does not think their kids are experiencing all of it on an emotional and gut-level are kidding themselves. 

Parents often think that if they don’t have their “knock ‘em down and drag ‘em out” type arguments in front of the children, that the kids are somehow isolated from the conflict.  Think again.  

Kids are way more emotionally intuitive than adults, and way more emotionally intelligent. 

So, to have your war over email, voicemail, or text still has a tremendous and negative impact.  

The answer is to deal with the conflict in a different way, and to hopefully, not experience the conflict in the first place. 

The point is to not let it rise and to de-escalate the conflict if it is happening.  

One final point before we get started. Make no mistake that a lot of the conflict, even if you think it is virtually always caused by your ex, can be controlled and dissipated by your own actions. You have more control and power than you think.

Also, a good start to help guide you is the Bill of Rights of Children written by Dr. Lois Nightingale.

Written by Val Hemminger, lawyer and mediator

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