Married life not only impacts you, it touches your children. By allowing issues to grow and by not solving them in your relationship, they could really hurt and in some cases damage a child’s view on relationships as an adult. Things like not showing affection, calling each other names, avoiding discussions, or giving your spouse the silent treatment all can negatively impact children. By not addressing these issues, children could grow up doing the same things in their relationships and in life like being distant, not communicating, or becoming abusive. If you are in a toxic marriage where there is verbal, emotional, or physical abuse it is better that the children are kept out from that environment. Children can feel tension between parents and absorb emotional detachment. For those who are not in those conditions, it is important to remember that kids mimic what their parents do, so take inventory on what needs to be done to have a healthier marriage for you and the family.
You Fight in Front of the Kids
Being in a hostile home and around unhappy spouses could impact a child’s self-esteem and creates trust issues. Kids can start to internalize and wonder what is wrong with them that their parents are fighting. They believe that they caused the disharmony, eventually accept it as the norm. Later in life they may carry unnecessary guilt and believe erroneously that they are doing something wrong in their relationships. This might harm future partnerships and influence decisions and become hostile themselves. Additionally, they could attract the wrong people, and could end up in the same situation like you. The cycle would continue and the foundation for having dysfunctional relationships is set.
You Compete with Each Other
Do you or your spouse hate playing the bad guy when it comes to discipline? If you ground your kid and the other parent doesn’t back you up. The lesson learned will be that rules don’t apply and this gives ground for manipulation. You are a team now and should work together when there are parenting decisions to be made. Back each other up on punishments, even if you are a pushover. “You’re just teaching your children to become better manipulators ― and that kind of behavior carries on into adult lives when it’s seen as a strategy that gets results,” therapist Marni Feuerman told the Huffington Post.
You Don’t Communicate
If communication is not your thing, you might want to work on it. Being prideful and not communicating with your spouse will teach your little one that they don’t have to talk things out and encourages them to avoid issues. They will also learn to shutdown emotionally, or become passive aggressive when they are upset. If you are constantly yelling at your spouse and not listening to their feelings, this can impact your child into being pessimistic about relationships. Show them that communication does take work, and it is an important part of life in and out of the home. Make an effort to correct this, even if it takes you to therapy.
Children observe and hear when you are dishonest. We all have known people who are habitual liars and know it is wrong behavior. If child see this, they will think that lying is completely normal and acceptable. Put it this way, would you want your little darling marrying a liar? Of course not, teach them that dishonesty is wrong. Being around people who are not truthful will show them that it is OK, and that everyone is like this. Even selective honesty can teach children to not be truthful. You know that “white lie” when you tell people you are not home to talk on the phone, when you are there and just tired? Well, they pick up on this and will emulate the same behavior when they are adults.
You Condemn Your Spouse
Belittling your spouse or making fun of them in front of the kids will influence them in their lives and their future. It hurts them when you degrade your spouse, and it teaches them that it is OK to talk bad about loved ones. If you are having a disagreement work it out in private, and show the family that you can have discussion with each other without trying to make each other look bad. Show your audience that there can be peace even with differentiating opinions. This will give them pause that relationships take work, but there can be a resolution regardless of the disagreements.We know that relationships are hard. They are harder on the kids we are responsible for shaping and molding. No one is perfect, and you will be flawed as a parent, but there are concessions you can make to help mold a well-rounded person who will not see marriage as a chore, prison, or a battle ground. Being around constant fighting, anger, and manipulation creates an endless cycle of low-self esteem, viewing marriage in a negative light, and refraining from a commitment. We need to be the ones that break the negative cycle, not them.