Contrary to that old marriage advice, it's impossible to never go to bed angry. If you're in a relationship, it's possible that you and your partner will have disagreements on anything from what to have for dinner to how to discipline your children. But it's important to know when that conflict is extreme and when to pay attention to how your disagreements are affecting your young children. If you are experiencing constant conflict in your relationship, you should be watching for the signs your relationship is affecting your toddler.
According to Parenting, the parents' relationship has a direct impact on the emotional health of everyone else in the household. You may think your toddler is too young to know what's going on, but they are absorbing it all and are keenly aware when their parents are distressed.
An occasional argument with your partner will not do your child serious, long-term damage. In fact, as developmental psychologist Diana Divecha, Ph.D., suggested, allowing your child to witness healthy conflict resolution can help them manage conflict effectively in their own social situations. However, when the conflicts are violent and go unresolved, your children can be affected.
If you are in a relationship that is plagued with conflict and stress, it's important to seek help to manage the impact on your family, as the consequences for your children will only become more serious as they get older. As Parenting suggests, children who grow up in troubled households are at greater risk for depression, poor school performance, and behavior problems. So keep an eye on these signs your relationship is affecting your toddler, and you need to correct your behavior.
1. They Are Becoming Clingy
Even at a young age, some children feel the need to protect a parent they believe to be in trouble. According to Psychology Today, kids who are affected by their parents' relationship issues may get clingy toward a parent.
2. The Parent-Child Bond Can Be Compromised
When parents are constantly in conflict, their energy is drained. This often leaves them with less energy to deal with the needs of their children, and often results in them having less patience, according to Hey Sigmund.
3. They Hold Their Feelings In
Although some children act out when they are in stressful situations, others prefer to keep their feelings to themselves. A child may respond to his parents' conflict by becoming withdrawn or quiet, according to Good Morning America.
4. They Suffer From Sleep Issues
Contrary to what you might think, your child may not be sleeping through your constant arguments with your partner. Developmental psychologist, Diana Divecha, Ph.D. wrote that long-term, continuous parental conflict can contribute to sleep issues in children.
5. They Feel Insecure
Even if there is no physical violence, your child may feel unsafe in an enviorment that is plagued by conflict. The tension caused by constant parental conflict can cause young children to feel frightened or anxious, as suggested by child and family therapist, Kathy Eugster, MA, RCC, CPT-S.
6. They Will Take It Out In The Sandbox
Children look to their parents for social cues and view them as a model for social behavior. They are paying attention to their parents, even when they aren't looking. According to Parenting, children who grow up in high-conflict households, particularly in cases where there is physical violence may exhibit similar behavior in their own peer conflicts.
7. They Throw Tantrums
Don't be surprised if your toddler becomes a little unruly as a result of your relationship issues. Psychology Today also suggests that toddlers who may be unable to talk to their parents about the conflicts they are witnessing may exhibit their frustrations by throwing tantrums.