Research suggests children whose parents fight with each other frequently and harshly are more likely to grow into emotionally insecure older children who struggle with depression, anxiety and behavior issues.
If parents managed to work out their problems in a constructive way, children aren’t terribly bothered by the conflicts.
What children wish?
The wish of basically all children is that their parents do not argue or fight with each other and can, in some way, work out difficulties in a mature fashion without resorting to hurtful comments and behaviors. This wish has a strong basis in reality as ongoing, unresolved, chronic conflict between parents, whether living together or separated, has an extremely negative impact on the current and future mental health of their children.
Chronic Parental Conflict
It is common and normal for two parents to have different ideas, opinions, values, and priorities. Part of being successful in a relationship with another person is being able to use appropriate communication skills so that ideas and opinions can be expressed and received with respect and differences of opinion can be worked out using healthy conflict resolution strategies.
If parents do not communicate respectfully with each other and do not have a good strategy for resolving conflicts, the result is chronic, unresolved conflict between the parents. There is an ongoing hostile emotional tone between the parents that continues to erupt over time and in the same patterns. Conflict never seems to get resolved. The same patterns of angry confrontations are repeated over and over again with only temporary or often no resolution or changes taking place between the parents.
This harmful conflict can range on a continuum from yelling, criticizing, blaming, put-downs, mocking, sarcasm and ignoring at one end of the spectrum, through intimidation and threats of harm, to actual physical violence such as throwing or destroying things, or grabbing, shoving, slapping, hitting, kicking, or any other form of physical assault at the other end of the spectrum.