Life In balance 365


December 20, 2023 | Life in Balance | admin

Invisible Wounds: The Psychological Impact of Parental Fighting on Children’s Mental Health”

Once upon a time, two voices echoed through the house. Not with words of love and warmth but with anger and hostility. This is a tale all too common in homes worldwide, where the psychological impact of parental discord, often underestimated, has profound effects on children’s mental health.

The Unseen Audience:

Children, much like sponges, are prone to absorb everything in their environment, including the conflicts that parents might think are going unnoticed. You may believe your disagreements are behind closed doors, but they are often heard and, more importantly, felt by your little ones.

The Psychological Effects of Parental Fighting:

Children exposed to parental fighting can experience a range of negative psychological effects. These can manifest as anxiety, depression, aggressive behavior, and even disturbances in their social and academic functioning. They might begin to view the world as a hostile place, impacting their ability to form healthy, trusting relationships later in life. Moreover, children may feel that they are to blame for the discord, causing a sense of guilt and low self-esteem. Long-term exposure to parental fighting has also been linked to chronic health conditions, like heart disease and diabetes, later in life due to increased stress levels.

Resilience and Recovery:

Despite the somber tone, it’s crucial to remember that children are resilient, and hope always finds a way. While parental discord can indeed pose significant challenges, various strategies can help mitigate these effects.

1. Mindful Conflict Resolution:

Not all disagreements are harmful. In fact, when handled constructively, they can teach children valuable lessons about conflict resolution. The key lies in how disagreements are managed and resolved, teaching children that conflict is a part of life and can be handled in a respectful and considerate manner.

2. Open Communication:

Maintaining open lines of communication with your children is vital. It’s important to reassure them that disagreements happen but they are not to blame. Conversations like these can help reduce feelings of guilt and confusion that children may harbor.

3. Seeking Professional Help:

In situations where conflicts are frequent or intense, seeking professional help such as family therapy or counseling can be beneficial. These services provide a safe environment for families to express their feelings and learn healthier ways to communicate.
So, dear parents, let’s strive for harmony. Let’s remember our children are the unseen audience, feeling each of our words, each of our emotions. We hold within us the power to shape their worlds, their futures. Let us shape them with love, understanding, and kindness.


  1. Harold, G. T., & Leve, L. D. (2012). Parents as partners: How the parental relationship affects children’s psychological development. In A. Balfour, M. Morgan, & C. Vincent (Eds.), How couple relationships shape our world: Clinical practice, research, and policy perspectives (pp. 25–55). Karnac Books.
  2. Davies, P. T., & Cummings, E. M. (1994). Marital conflict and child adjustment: an emotional security hypothesis. Psychological Bulletin, 116(3), 387-411.
  3. Harold, G. T., & Sellers, R. (2018). Annual Research Review: Interparental conflict and youth psychopathology: an evidence review and practice focused update. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 59(4), 374-402.
  4. Grych, J. H., & Fincham, F. D. (1990). Marital conflict and children’s adjustment: a cognitivecontextual framework. Psychological Bulletin, 108(2), 267-290.
  5. Troxel, W. M., & Matthews, K. A. (2004). What are the costs of marital conflict and dissolution to children’s physical health? Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 7(1), 29-
  7. Goeke-Morey, M. C., Cummings, E. M., Harold, G. T., & Shelton, K. H. (2003). Categories and continua of destructive and constructive marital conflict tactics from the perspective of U.S. and Welsh children. Journal of Family Psychology, 17(3), 327-338.
  8. El-Sheikh, M., Cummings, E. M., Kouros, C. D., Elmore-Staton, L., & Buckhalt, J. (2008). Marital psychological and physical aggression and children’s mental and physical health: Direct, mediated, and moderated effects. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 76(1), 138-
  10. Fields, L., & Prinz, R. J. (1997). Coping and adjustment during childhood and adolescence. Clinical Psychology Review, 17(8), 937-976.