Effects of Parental Discord

Ever since you became parents to those tiny little souls, there’s a CC TV installed in your home permanently. You must take care of how you behave even within the comfort of your own home. You’re being constantly watched.

The relationship between a husband and wife cannot be complete without an argument, a disagreement or a cold war. The reality is, most of the times it’s just a way of renewing the love and affection that has faded or is lost somewhere in the midst of the various responsibilities that the couple are burdened with and the rat race they are part of. But, there is one serious side-effect of these not-so-serious disputes, and that is the damage it does to the children.

Yes. Parental discord does massive damage to children.

As a child, I still remember how terrified my younger sister and I were when we used to hear the slightest of change of tone in our parents’ voices. We used to be so worried that there might be violence or our parents might get divorced. Our Dad was on deputation and lived away from us for over ten years. He was only available for fifteen days in two years. This made us less aware of Dad’s temperament. His normal tone was loud only, but it made us worry and shiver with fear. Such was the effect of Bollywood movies back then. Honestly, we were more worried about ourselves and our future than about our parents.

A recent cold war between the husband and me lingered on a bit longer than usual and unfortunately the kids are old enough to sense something wrong in the environment even if there were no verbal altercations to be witnessed. I was so touched by the way the poor souls were running from one parent to another trying to break the ice in their own little ways they could think of. In fact, I’m feeling guilty that they had to go through it, for however little time it was. We prefer cold war because bitter words spoken can never be taken back and they leave a permanent scar.

Though our cold war continued, we took the kids out for a picnic and there I stumbled upon a huge stone and fell down. I would say it happened by God’s grace. Husband offered help to make me get up and the moment we held each other’s hands my seven-year old started jumping and clapping happily shouting, “Yay! They have become friends again!” That struck a chord in me.

I’m just wondering how much stress we would have passed on to the little ones by just adapting silence for a few hours. This, I believe is the worst sin any parent can do. Feeling guilty, guilty, guilty…

Phew! I was just thinking if a few hours of silence between parents affected our kids so much, what’ll be the condition of the children who witness bitter arguments, violence and divorce. Those little hearts are so innocent and are just like the old camera rolls on which we used to capture the pictures. There is no photo-editing software that can be used to edit the pictures that leave an impression on them. The matter between us might not have been as trivial as the innocent kids perceived them. But from their eye-level it indeed looks nothing less than a World War. Whatever little tension it creates in the atmosphere, it badly affects the children. They are unable to concentrate on their studies, games and other chores and are always on the lookout to see if they’ll get a clue to about the unusual behaviour of their parents and the reason behind it.

To err is human and since we are human beings, I’m sure such situations will arise in future also, however hard we try to escape them or minimize them. So, the best possible way to ease things for the kids I felt was, making up with a big hug right in front of them to make them realize that no matter what, their parents are going to get back again with the same love and affection.

So, did you give a big hug to your partner today? Do it in front of the musketeers and see their eyes beaming with joy.

This post was first published at Parentous.

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5 Replies to “Effects of Parental Discord”

  1. This was such a nice heartwarming post which highlights a very important but mostly overlooked aspect of parenting, the parents’ behavior in front of their children. Even educated and aware parents sometimes unconsciously do things in front of their children which end up affecting the little ones permanently, and this post talks about one important mistake that most parents commonly make.

    Loved the post 🙂

    1. Learning by Doing it is. Read this on some parenting post today. Every single moment of parenthood teaches you life’s most important lessons. Isn’t it? 🙂

  2. Oh yes! A lesson learnt through experience for me too. If you fight in front of the kids, make sure you say sorry to each other in front of the kids too. A hug and everything is back to normal again. Good advice dear. 🙂

  3. Rekha – such an honest post. And so so true. The relationship and everyday interactions between parents convey (explicitly / implicitly) so many things to the kids.. While we cannot filter everything, I think it is important to be conscious of our words and actions. Thanks for writing this thought provoking piece

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