Quarrelling parents could be harming their children

Quarrelling parents could be harming their children

A study has found that exposure to family feuds can cause physical problems in children such as headaches, stomach cramps and reduced growth.


Experts from relationship charity OnePlusOne looked at the differences between destructive and constructive conflict within the family home and examined the effects.

Destructive conflict such as sulking, walking away, slamming doors or making children the focus of an argument, outs youngsters at great risk of a range of social, emotional and behavioural difficulties, the study found.

Children react better when parents can relate to each other more positively during arguments and when conflicts are resolved.

Dr Catherine Houlston, co-author of the book, Parental Conflict: Outcomes and Interventions for Children and Families said:

“It’s not whether you argue but how you argue which matters most to kids.

“Research suggests that over time, the impact of being exposed to arguing between their parents can put children’s physical health at risk.

“Evidence has shown that headaches, abdominal pains and even reduced growth can be brought on by the insecurity a child can feel by seeing their parents at war.”

However not all arguments have a negative outcome.

Dr Houlston adds: “If a child sees his or her parents in conflict and then work things out, they understand it’s possible for difficult situations to be resolved and they feel more secure.”

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