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  Words: Kirsty Ketley
Is the cost of living crisis causing arguments between you and your partner? Are you worried about the effect this can be having on your kids? Parenthood spoke with app specialist Sven Lauch, an Emotional Logic Coach, to get the lowdown on how best to manage conflict in front of the kids…
“Conflicts are inevitable and heated arguments happen in most relationships.” Sven tells us.
“They are a normal part of life and therefore our children need to develop skills on how to argue. How do children learn? Primarily by observing.”
So, like all areas of parenting, being a good role model is important, but is it healthy for parents to role model how to argue, particularly currently where families are having to tighten their budgets?
” If your relationship is safe and you are able to find good solutions even when it gets heated then there is no problem to argue in front of your children about things appropriate to their age.” Explains Sven. ” Just make sure you reassure your children afterwards that you still love each other and that it is ok to have an argument from time to time. Do that especially when you observe them struggling with the situation and reassure them as a couple. They will learn to feel safe even during those uncalm moments and observe that you can have a voice without fearing the world might fall apart.”
But what about when your arguments are mostly hostile? For children, this can be scary and upsetting and probably not something you wnat to teach them.

“If your arguments tend to be heated and hostile then ask yourself, do you want your children to argue that way with their friends and future partners? In my experience, most unhelpful behaviour during arguments is learned in our early childhood. We often just copy one or both our parents and don’t know how to do it differently as adults.” Points out Sven

“Threats to leave the relationship, swearing, and abuse (verbal or physical) are a no go in front of children.  And they should be a no-go in your relationship.” He warns.

So, how can you best protect your children from being witness to hostile arguments?
“Locking your children out of your hostile arguments is a good temporary measure to avoid traumatising them unnecessarily. However, it won’t solve the problem completely because (1) you likely argue with your children in similar way and (2) hostile arguments are rarely planned. There is only one solution to avoiding hostile arguments” Sven tells us, “Learn to have healthy conflicts.”
This won’t be an easy thing to do if you and your partner are both hot headed, but Sven and his wife have found a good solution that really helps.
He explains, “My wife and I used to have lots of hostile arguments. Talking about important things was difficult. Then we discovered that our conflict conversations are less tense and hostile when we are not at home but in a coffee shop. So we began to raise a subject and plan a trip to the coffee shop to discuss the matter there. To our surprise it worked. We had a better time, felt more connected afterwards and had better outcomes. Over time, that calmness translated to our conflicts at home.”
“Think about, when and where have you and your partner good and meaningful conversations?” Advises Sven.

“Ask your partner, if they feel the same about that? And then explore, can you avoid those tense and hostile arguments by taking advantage of that. If you can’t think of any situation like that, then consider getting help for your relationship.”

When it comes to discussing money though, is it okay to have discussions with the kids present?

“Money is a difficult issue in many relationships” Sven reveals
He recommends that you;
  • Don’t talk about it in front of your children unless you were always open about it. My parents revealed to me when I was an adult that there were times when things were extremely tight. While they made adjustments behind the scene I had no idea about that.
  • Raise the need to discuss money and find an environment where you can discuss it safely and calmly.
  • Stay focussed on each other, not the numbers. Try to understand your partner and learn what they value and what things are important to them and why. You will find it easier to discuss numbers if you feel heard and understood. Forcing change will sow mistrust.
  • Put all the numbers on the table to enable an honest and transparent discussion. You are in this together.
  • Focus on your needs not your wants.
  • If you run out of steam to discuss it calmly, reschedule.
  • Consider contacting an agency such as Citizen Advice if you are stuck.

 

 

Sven is an Emotional Logic Coach specialising in equipping parents with emotion skills to improve:
• Their relationship with their partners in the areas of communication, conflict and emotional intimacy.
• Their capacity to be an emotionally safe and supportive adult to their children especially when things are difficult.
• Their strategies to provide skills for their children’s emotional development.
• Their ability to facilitate children in conflict by helping the children discover and voice their deep values.

Website: svenlauch.com
Instagram: @eyesupuk
Twitter: @svenlauch
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/svenlauch/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/svenlauchUK/