Family Life

Think arguing with your hubby in front of the kids won't do them any harm? Think again...

If you're like most, chances are you've had the occasional spat with your other half with your children in earshot, and thought nothing of it. 

But don't make a habit of it. 

That's the message from a recent study, which found that kids who witness conflict between their folks have poorer long-term life chances and can become suicidal in extreme cases. 

Arguments between parents can affect children, even if they are no longer in a relationship, according to researchers at the University of Sussex.

Particularly bad is unresolved tension between parents, which appears to have a negative impact on children's long-term mental health and wellbeing.

The team found that parents engaged in conflict are more aggressive towards their kids, and less responsive to their needs. 

Children who are exposed to severe, long-term and ongoing conflict between their parents can become aggressive, hostile and violent, while others can go on to develop low self-esteem, depression and anxiety.

Some even become suicidal, researchers said.

And it's not just their emotional and mental health which can suffer as a result of conflict, but their academic performance at school too. 

"Children of all ages can be affected by inter-parental conflict," siad Carey Oppenheim, CEO of the Early Intervention Foundation.

"It's vital to ensure we avoid missing a crucial piece of the jigsaw in improving children's mental health and future life chances."

Professor Gordon Harold, from the School of Psychology at the University of Sussex, said that a growing body of evidence suggest that relationships between parents is “one of the strongest influences on children’s long-term mental health, wellbeing and future life chances.”

“This will not only affect today’s generation of children, but  tomorrow’s generation of parents.

SHARE to raise awareness of the possible harm caused by parental conflict.


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