When parents are happy and content, children naturally feel happier and more content.  It signals that overall, life is good.  Children are freed from worrying about those adult problems when parents meet each other’s needs of feeling heard and supported and when they can work together to solve problems.

The opposite is also true when children see their parents being unhappy, anxious and not gaining the support they need from other adults.  The child tends to carry at least some of that burden.  Children are naturally egocentric.  They don’t understand the complexities of the issues, so they tend to feel responsible or guilty, fearing that they will be blamed.

All couples have disagreements.  Children tend to be less affected when those differences can be worked through respectfully with satisfying solutions and agreements.  They learn healthy conflict-resolution skills.  Yet when children are exposed to their parents fighting and relationship conflict that is intense, frequent, without resolution or abusive it impacts them negatively in many ways.

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In the full article, find out more about parents fighting and the effect on children…

  • How living with intense conflict can affect children’s behaviour
  • Why siblings are more likely to be in conflict when they live with parents in conflict
  • The effect of parental conflict on a child’s self-esteem
  • How toxic communication impacts children
  • The traumatic impact of witnessing (or experiencing) physical violence
  • Breaking the cycle of parental conflict
  • Tools for supporting parents in conflict
  • Further reading…

Genevieve Simperingham is a Psychosynthesis Counsellor, a Parenting Instructor and coach, public speaker, human rights advocate, writer and the founder of The Peaceful Parent Institute. Check out her articles, Peaceful Parenting eCourses, forums and one-year Peaceful Parenting Instructor Training through this website or join over 90,000 followers on her Facebook page The Way of the Peaceful Parent.

  1. Alex Glassey 3 years ago

    Thanks for sharing this. Fighting in front of our children has an immense impact on them and affects their mental health. Children who were exposed to severe conflict between their parents can become violent and develop low self-confidence and anxiety. Seek child psychologists as soon as you see that your child is experiencing mental health concern.

  2. Francesca 1 year ago

    This is all true, but there needs to be a free resource to provide a stepping stone to readers to check out how to solve these issues, or provide encouragement that they are already doing ok-ish! It’s a bit too focused on the negative without help offered that does nothing require a subscription. What if people can’t afford this?

  3. […] Is parental conflict harmful to kids?  […]

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