It’s nor­mal for cou­ples to fight, but it’s im­por­tant to en­sure that your lit­tle one isn’t af­fected by it, re­minds DR RICHARD C. WOOLF­SON.

Young Parents (Singapore) - - Contents -

It’s nor­mal for cou­ples to fight, but do these so your lit­tle one isn’t af­fected by it.

There is a hardly a cou­ple who doesn’t have ar­gu­ments, espe­cially when they have kids.

Yet, no child likes to see Mum and Dad fight with each other. Con­sider the neg­a­tive im­pact: First, if you spend too much time squab­bling with each other, you’ll have less time for her.

Sec­ond, it cre­ates a tense and strained at­mos­phere at home; and third, she doesn’t want to see the peo­ple she loves in dis­pute.

Here are strate­gies to help you work things out so your lit­tle one won’t get up­set.

Keep your ghts away from her

Of course, there will be times when ar­gu­ments erupt spon­ta­neously be­tween you and your spouse in front of your tod­dler. Where pos­si­ble, de­lay the ar­gu­ments un­til she is not around.

Don’t ask your tod­dler to take sides

She loves both of you, so re­sist the temp­ta­tion to draw her into the ar­gu­ment. For ex­am­ple, you may feel like ask­ing her: “Don’t you think I am right?” That ques­tion forces her to choose one par­ent over the other. Leave her out of it.

Re­as­sure her she is safe

di­min­ishes. She may start to fear for her own safety and think to her­self: “If Mum and Dad can be hor­ri­ble to each other, maybe they will be hor­ri­ble to me, too”. She also fears that you may hurt each other.

Ex­plain that peo­ple need to re­lease their feel­ings

De­spite the un­pleas­ant­ness, the re­al­ity is that your two-year-old has to learn to cope with con­flict and dis­agree­ments in her life. She has to learn that vir­tu­ally ev­ery­one bick­ers some­times, and that this is a nor­mal – but usu­ally un­de­sir­able – part of re­la­tion­ships.

Model good be­hav­iour

If your tod­dler sees that both of you can have a mi­nor ar­gu­ment and still love each other after­wards, she’ll even­tu­ally grasp the con­cept that love and con­flict are not mu­tu­ally ex­clu­sive. She will learn that she can care deeply for some­one and be an­noyed with them at the same time.

Never show phys­i­cal ag­gres­sion

Your two-yearold should never see phys­i­cal ag­gres­sion – or even threats – be­tween you and your spouse.

She may be­come afraid to leave the house in case some­thing dread­ful hap­pens.

Demon­strate com­pro­mise

Show your tot that ar­gu­ments can be re­solved by com­pro­mise. Teach her that when two peo­ple want dif­fer­ent things, they can reach a mid­dle-ground through dis­cus­sion and com­pro­mise. And if she learns this from you at home, she’ll be able to use this strat­egy when dis­agree­ing with her friends.

Ex­plain mi­nor im­por­tance

ar­gu­ment, re­as­sure her that the fight doesn’t re­ally mean any­thing.

Tell her ex­plic­itly that al­though you are both an­gry, you are dis­agree­ing over a small mat­ter. Make sure she un­der­stands this so she isn’t afraid of the con­flict she has ob­served.

Re­sist the temp­ta­tion to draw her into your ar­gu­ment. For ex­am­ple, you may feel like ask­ing her: “Don’t you think I am right?”

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