Fighting with Spouse in Front of Family

Updated on September 20, 2010
L.J. asks from West Palm Beach, FL
19 answers

Okay guys, II know eveyrone fights. My husband and I have rather heated arguments. I cant avoid all arguments but I hate when certain things are said in front of our daughter. The problem is we both work at home with our daughter all the time. She is ALWAYS there except for during naps or bedtime or occasionally when grandma watches her.
How do you either 1. avoid fighting with your spouse or 2. Make the arguments less heated in front of the kids?
Right now, shes only 2 and doesn't know what we are saying entirely but eventually she will.

1 mom found this helpful

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So What Happened?

So I like the of "no fighting in the bedroom", It gives both of us an out. If someone goes in there, its like saying "sanctuary!" and we are not allowed to yell or argue with the other person. We also came up with a few "code phrases" to let the other person know enough is enough and that we need to continue this conversation later.

I also want to point out that I do work from home, but my work is EXTREMELY limited. I would NEVER EVER put a 2 yr old in preschool if I am at home all day! Some of these comments were a bit ridiculous (you need counseling and you should put your kid into preschool at 2 yrs old). I would hire a Nanny before putting a kid into a school system at 2 yrs old. Furthermore she goes to gymnastics and library class twice a week. My point with this question is how do you handle fights when they DO happen? The bedroom sanctuary comment was most helpful. THanks for t hose who were giving me real advice and not just making me feel like somehow we were unusual people.

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answers from Norfolk on

Communication and conflict resolution are basic relationship skills every couple needs to know. Spats, small arguments in front of the kids is not a problem. Full blown shouting matches, name calling, physical arguments in front of the kids is just showing them what dysfunctional looks like. Some couples counseling could really help you guys a lot. Other people have the same questions you have and they can find healthy ways to deal with them with a good counselor. There are probably a few self help books which would help, too.

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answers from Reno on

Disagreeing is fine as long as you're not screaming, yelling, tossing bad words or insults around. It's good for children to know that parents can disagree and still love each other.

However, if things get heated, it's time to step back, cool off and try again. Remember, fighting should be about what's right, not who is right. If you're fighting to be right, even if your position is not sound, then it's a waste of time and breath. I would encourage you and your husband to agree on "Rules of the Fight," to make sure you're not fighting dirty, which can be very damaging to children.

When I was growing up, my mom and stepdad fought loud, mean and dirty. The fights usually ended with the police showing up (and me in trouble for calling) or my stepdad moving out. I was married for YEARS before I would ever disagree with my husband and, even sadder, it was years before I would sleep with the closet doors closed. I never wanted to hear a closet door slam open again. My husband had to teach me how to argue fairly and effectively. Because we learned together, when we do fight, it's clean and fair and their are (generally) no hard feelings.

Good luck!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

Don't under estimate a two year old. They understand more than you think, however are not able to communicate. They totally understand the difference between a conversation and a heated talk.

Often the fighting stops with time. My husband and I are both very strong personalities. He is the let's go here and there and spend everything since we work hard everyday. While I am, let me check the budget before we make those plans.

We are nearly at 14 years and the worst that he does at this point is drink out of the milk carton and of course I throw a fit.

Somewhere along the way, we let all the differences go out the window and we work things out.

You don't hear your grandparents fight that much do you? They often just enjoy life and their family.

Choose your battles - both of you.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on


I think it's healthy children to see their parents disagree and then resolve the issue. It teaches them conflict management skills.

However, certain conversations are meant for grown-ups only (should we put the dog down, is Grammy moving in with us, SIL stole our car...). If you hate for certain topics to be discussed in front of your daughter, then table them until she is asleep or with Grandma.

Also, if you find that neither of you can remain respectful then the conversation needs to stop. Walk away, if possible. Or say, in a calm but firm voice, that you won't continue the discussion.

At 2, she understands a lot of the conversation. And yes, she is only going to catch on more as she gets older.

Good luck.

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answers from Indianapolis on

First off, I think NOT fighting in front of the kids is wrong.....not that it should be done all the time or when you are being mean.....but letting kids think marriage is just one lovely day after another is not good nor is it reality. Plus if a divorce happens, the kids are really in shock.......

I think you and your spouse need to learn to talk to each other.........or maybe write emails or letters to each also need a rule that nothing will be said mean or spiteful in front of the kids.........

Another thing is to try to figure out what is going to be said and counteract it.....or diffuse can always agree to disagree as well.......if possible, try to stop the argument and hold it off until later after the kids are in bed...

Good Luck and take care.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Richmond on

Rule number 1 - it's okay to disagree in front of kids, but if it escalates, no knock down drag out fights in front of them. Rule number 2- never fight in your bedroom! That should be a sanctuary for you both, not to be associated with fighting. It's easy to get away to the privacy of your room to argue, but not good practice.

Sounds like you both need to get on the same page. I know arguements ignite instantly and over nothing at all, but until you guys can step away from your daughter, keep it cordial. It's important for kids to see their parents disagree to learn conflict and solution, but heated arguements are different. Both of you need to tone it down until you are able to step away... and remember, out of sight does not mean out of hearing range.

I know how incredibly hard that is, but like you said, she's not old enough to get it yet, and nows the best time to work out a solution so when the time comes, you know how to duke it out in private :) Best wishes!

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answers from Dallas on

If I couldn't talk respectfully or in a normal tone of voice with my child around, I would tell my spouse that we need to talk about the issue when our child is asleep. I think that is only fair to your child. Hope you work things out for the best of your family.



answers from Boston on

She is two and may not know what you are talking about, but believe she feels it all. I have got to tell your probably scaring her and that is just not fair at all. To avoid fighting, stop fighting back with him. Use a whole different tone when answering him maybe he will follow with a similar tone. If a argument is about to start.... walk to a room where your daughter is not. I mean really old are you both that this has to go on in front of a innocent child. She probably wants to tell you both to shut up and grow up.

I suggest counseling for you both. I hope it all works out.



answers from Tampa on

Go to your closest Dianetics center , and get the underlying reason you get "heated" handled.
You are already giving her problems- she knows it is dangerous when you 2 fight.
Dianetics handled this for me.
Best, k



answers from New York on

L., my hubs and I disagree in front of our son. But if we know it's gonna be bigger than a disagreement, we leave the room or if we can't we usually say at the same time, we'll get to this later. The plus about not fighting in front of our son and having to wait it out, when we finally can have our "screaming match" it never really happens because tempers have simmered down. My son knows people disagree and I think a child should know their parents aren't the Cleavers, but anything beyond a simple disagreement should be out of hearing and out of sight.


answers from Houston on

Try working on having more mutual discussion and less arguments period, whether she is around or not. if someone escalates, agree to calm down to discuss it in a mature and respectful manner.

here is an article with lots of great tips on this very topic, there are 5 click to pages at the bottom.

A counselor once told us, to talk while holding hands and try to see each other's perspective. In the end, it is often fine to agree to disagree and respect each other still.



answers from Fort Myers on

Having a kid around, might make you argue / problem solve better. I could sense my infant getting really anxious when we were getting heated in an argument and we both stopped getting all worked up and lowered our voice and said "what I mean is...". The kids do notice the emotions and dont like. Its good that you are aware of this, to try to get problems fixed in a better way.



answers from Harrisburg on

Depends on what you are fighting over. It's never the best to fight in front of kids, but sometimes it happens, and I think sometimes its ok to see that mommy and daddy have differences, especially if it's once in a while versus everyday fighting, arguing, complaining etc. At that point I think it plays an effect on the child. My husband and I argue "sarcastically" sometimes to get our points across instead of shouting, the attitude, etc. or we tell our kids to go to their room, we close the door and then we discuss what we have to in front of each other. They can hear the argument but not see our actions/reactions.


answers from Modesto on

Since arguing seems to be a dynamic in your communication skills with hubby you should both agree that some of the arguements need to be postponed for the sake of your daughter. Kids do stress out when they hear certain tones in our voices and you dont want to get her all nervous and freaked out.
I agree that an arguement that ends well with resolutions is a good skill for your kids to see, but if they are petty, cussing involved, frustrations that go nowhere... you should agree with Dad to finish them later. Chances are a tabled arguement will just disappear and was probably not worth beginning in the first place. ** Always think first before entering the arguement "Is this really worth battling about right now?" Pick your battles wisely, life is way too short to be full of agression all of the time ;)



answers from Tampa on

Thank you for this question :-)


answers from Phoenix on

If it starts to get heated one of you needs to simply say to the other "we will discuss this later when we are by ourselves". Our kids are 14, 11 and 8 and this works for us. The kids are in bed at 8pm every night. They don't necessarily go to sleep, but they know to stay in their rooms and they put themselves to sleep. This gives me and hubby some time by ourselves before we go to bed. and the prior poster was right, NEVER fight in your bedroom! Good luck.



answers from Houston on

We have two businesses. Yes, you're bound to fight. You need to get her in MDO or a preschool. Unfortunately, you are working so she is not getting what 'normal' SAHM's are giving. Get her out of the environment where she can thrive a few hrs a day or a few days a week. And really try to save the arguments for when your daughter is not around. Yes, it will eat @ you, but you'll probably have a better, more level-headed discussion instead of a fight by waiting and collecting your thoughts better anyway.



answers from Tampa on

when this happens in our house, my husband & I have an agreement that one of us needs to always stop the fight before it starts. This is usually done by saying calmly (with "that look") that we'll talk about it later. Granted, this doesn't always work & sometimes the argument goes on too long, but after we calm down, we always apologize to our kids & explain that Mommy & Daddy sometimes get upset when we're stressed out, but we love each other very much & are very sorry for arguing. I don't think you need counseling... Everyone argues. Unless it gets to the point where hurtful things are said & you realize yourself that maybe it's time for help, then takethat step. No one knows your situation better than yourself. Just monitor yourself & do what you & your husband feel is best in your situation.



answers from Miami on

The best resolution for us was a video conference we just attended called, "Love and Respect". It is produced by the Love and Respect Ministries by Emmerson Eggelreich. Completely changed our marriage to being in love again and we were at the point of no solution-or so we thought. Check out their webstie and it will help a lot.

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