THE BLOG

The Price Children Pay for Watching Their Parents Fight

14/03/2014 10:02 GMT | Updated 13/05/2014 10:59 BST

Arguing or disagreeing with your partner is not unusual, it's a normal part of life. It happens and will continue to happen as long as you're together.

Your children will see this happen but they will also see you make up and continue with your life and love as you are meant to. This occurrences teach your children a lot including that not only do people disagree and argue but they also make up and continue with their day. Such is life.

But when we speak of conflict, where things get nasty and personal, where it's not just words that are used as weapons but bodies and objects around, then we wreak havoc in the lives of our children.

And in case you're wondering, stonewalling or giving each other the silent treatment is no better a way of dealing with these situations. It is still very distressing.

Things children don't always have the words to describe how they are feeling or what is going on inside them. When this happens and they don't know what to do with their fears and anxieties, then they will often show their distress through behavioural changes rather than words.

Whether you're living together or separately, if there's conflict in your home(s) then look out for the following possible changes in your child:

• Increased clinginess

• Increase fears and insecurities

• Low self-esteem

• A lack of belonging, feeling lost

• Guilt and shame

• Feelings of helplessness

• Exhibiting aggressive behaviour themselves

• Feeling fearful, unsure of the future

• Embarrassed to bring friends over

• Psychosomatic symptoms

• Underachievement at school

Most of us know our children well. We are our children's experts so if you notice any of the above then please do seek help and support for them even from a professional if necessary.

If your child was being bullied at school you would do something about it and quick smart. Maybe the same rules should apply at home to protect him/her for conflict?

Just to finish off, I recently spoke to a friend of mine who is an adult child of divorce. His parents divorced when he was 13 and he is writing a piece on "Being an adult child of divorce." He said to me that he thought it would be an easy piece to write as it had all happened a long time ago but it has taken him weeks to complete and a lot of crying. He is 53.

Enough said.