How Happy Relationship at Home Affects Your Child
By Brenner Thomas
There is no secret that everything in this world is connected. The butterfly effect is real: a tornado can start simply due to a butterfly flapping its wings on the other side of the world. However, the effects can be even more intense if the impact is not circumstantial but rather direct and occurs within a single family, and family constellations therapy can help reveal any hidden dynamics and dysfunctional patterns.
There is a lot of information to back up the fact that the parents’ relationship and how happy it is affecting their child, in a lot of ways. So, if you want your child to grow up happy, you need to make sure that you set a good example!
Children That Are Exposed to Healthy Conflict Resolution Process Learn How to Socialize Better
It is a known fact that adults play a significant role in the lives of their children, especially during the first couple of years of their lives. One of the most crucial skills that children often inherit from their parents and other adults that surround them during that stage of development is the ability to tackle problems and approach conflicts.
Conflict resolution is one of the basic social skills that allow people to co-exist in society and effectively compromise with each other on various topics, even the most sensitive ones. There is an extremely straightforward explanation of the importance of mastering this skill. Due to the differences in upbringing, backgrounds, culture, and multiple other things, not all people share the same beliefs and therefore may find themselves in a situation where they are being oppressed. Often, this happens as a result of a misunderstanding, either a circumstantial one or the one that is caused by one of the parties exercising their rights at the expense of the other party. Both situations are equally detrimental for a relationship if not addressed, hence it is important that as a child you learn to recognize situations like that and know exactly when and how to speak up in order to protect yourself from being hurt.
While there is no point in arguing about the things that people of different backgrounds and morals tend to agree to disagree, a lot of more down to earth issues are impossible to leave unattended without ruining the relationship. This is particularly relevant to those questions that have something else in the picture that cannot be taken out, and therefore it directly affects the wellbeing, either mental or physical, of the parties involved. Naturally, if two sides do not agree on something and have different opinions on the issue, a conflict arises.
First of all, it is essential for you as both a parent and an adult to understand that arguing is not always bad. In fact, it is believed that arguments are an absolutely normal part of any relationship, especially within a family that faces a number of domestic problems on a daily basis. There are inevitably things and/or situations that could be frustrating for either you or your partner, or even both of you, that just need to be communicated about. Furthermore, it is not always that your significant other agrees with your point of view and wants to accept it unconditionally. This is understandable and needs to be treated with respect. Nonetheless, it must be resolved.
There are a couple of reasons why arguments between the parents are actually good for the kid. Firstly, it eases up the tension that would otherwise be building up within a family. If you are trying to be the ‘perfect parents’ and avoid arguing with each other at all costs no matter how annoyed you are with something, you risk bottling up your emotions to the point where they inevitably burst out. Such outbursts of negativity are much more detrimental for your family as they are most often uncontrolled and lead to all sorts of dysfunctions. The reason for this is fairly straightforward: if you do not voice your concerns on the spot, you tend to overthink them later, which frequently leads to an exaggeration of the problem in your head even if initially it was just a minor inconvenience. Moreover, if you collect those small things without addressing them, they keep growing just like a snowball, which can eventually cause a massive avalanche that is anything but pretty. But even without the so-called grand-finale, avoiding arguments can be rather bad for the happiness levels of your family. If you are not satisfied with something, you act passive-aggressively, which can be confusing for both our partner who would be sensing a sudden change in attitude and waves of negativity and your children who will overall not be able to explain what is going on and be down because of it.
Nonetheless, even if you do have arguments with your partner and do voice your concerns regularly, there is another thing that is relevant to the question of arguments. A lot of parents are trying to shield your children from witnessing it thinking that kids should not be involved in the adult business. To an extent, this is an acceptable approach since there is a rather wide range of issues that should not be discussed in the child’s presence. However, you cannot just avoid having any sort of conflict whatsoever in from of your kid. This would lead to them thinking that having misunderstandings and slight disagreements are not normal and will make them question their self-worth and adequacy once they face one outside of the family. You need to remember that your family life is just another puzzle in the bigger picture of the outside society that your kid is entering as soon as they develop their own social circles. Hence, you need to model it accordingly for them to be prepared for all the possible hardships of the real world.
However, you need to also be able to draw a clear line of difference between fights and constructive arguments. The first is unacceptable and cannot be tolerated in a happy family. There cannot and absolutely should not be any physical fighting or any sort of verbal abuse used to carry across the point. If that is the case, you risk your child growing up an aggressive individual with dangerous tendencies. It can be as severe as having uncontrollable anger issues etc.
There are studies to prove that in those families where both parents tackled conflicts constructively as opposed to acting destructively, children grew up to be more secure and mentally stable individuals. They managed to obtain the necessary skills to openly voice their opinions and demand the things they require without causing too much drama. Those parents who participated in constructive and healthy conflict patterns were more successful at parenting and helped their children to remain healthy, both mentally and physically.
One of the less obvious outcomes of an unhappy relationship is obesity or malnourishment, both of which appear as a part of an eating disorder. On a number of occasions, children react to the situations in a more acute way and find comfort in food, either that would be consuming more as food gives them a sense of happiness and associates with stability, or abstaining from it to regain control over the situation through deliberate hunger. This has not only a lot of short-term impacts but also influences the child’s mental stability and physical health in the long-run.
A Trusting Environment Fosters Friendliness and Removes Trust Issues
Another extremely important part of a happy relationship is trust. A happy relationship is always a trusting one, which implies that there cannot be any secrets between the parties involved in this relationship.
There is quite a lot to unpack in this statement. First of all, there are two types of relationships that exist within a family, the one between the parents and the one between parents and children. Both are equally important and contribute toward the greater happiness of a family as a societal unit. However, despite being based on similar principles, they are rather different.
Granted that parents make sure that they treat their kids as equals and create a trusting environment where children can feel like they can share everything with their parents without being judged and therefore should not keep secrets, the relationship will remain healthy and promote good social skills in the future. On the other hand, if parents fail to position themselves in such a way and create an environment where children feel like they will be judged and misunderstood if they open up, they will be sneakier and can get into a lot of trouble. Furthermore, they will have trouble opening up to others in the future, which can be bad for their personal relationships.
At the same time, if there is not enough trust between the parents themselves, or, even worse, if they are trying to get the child to partake in their lies, it can be extremely detrimental for the kid. For instance, if there is a situation in which one of the parents is hiding some information from the other parent and gets the child to cover up their lies, the child is bound to normalize lying and develop trust issues. When they witness active lying, they will either adopt those practices or become obsessively wary of trying to catch everyone around them in lies.
This can foster major trust issues and have direct negative effects on the quality of the relationships that children have with others, especially with their future romantic partners.
Children Who Live in a Nuclear Family Tend to Have Higher Self-Esteem
While this article does not aim to claim that a family with a single parent cannot be happy, the traditional form of a happy family is the nuclear one. This means that both parents are present in the lives of their kids and are together.
There is a lot of scientific evidence to suggest that people who were brought up in a nuclear family are overall more content with their lives and feel more confident as opposed to the kids who only have one parent in the scene. The latter tend to have lower self-esteem and overall be less likely to achieve great results in life.
One of the reasons why this happens is the fact that children are often get picked at for not having one of the parents at school. While this is a form of bullying and should be punished, it, sadly, does not eradicate the problem completely and it still exists in modern society.
Children Tend to Use Their Parents as Their First Relationship Role Models
It is evident that children, especially when they are younger, tend to absorb all the information they receive from the outer world like sponges. The first relationship model than any child witnesses is that of their parents’. Therefore, you need to understand that the relationship you and your partner have, its type and form, have a lot of impact on your child. There is a strong correlation between your happiness in the relationship and the way your child turns out.
Family Experience Affects Later Romantic Relationships
How often do you display your love for your partner in front of your child? How do you do that? Is it reciprocated? These and many other questions that describe your affection levels with your co-parent are extremely important and play a large role in shaping the behavioral patterns of your child in the future.
As it been mentioned previously, children use models and existing patterns to learn. Hence, they are likely to inherit the family model you and your partner have and use it to build their own family in the future.
If you are not particularly affectionate and do not cuddle, hug and kiss your significant other in front of your kid, they may end up growing up without a clear understanding of the importance of showing affection and manifesting love. This can make it more difficult to find a partner in the future, especially if there is a mismatch in the upbringings.
Showing a Healthy Dose of Affection to Your Child
However, it is not only the affection you show to your partner but also the one that you show to your child that makes a lot of difference. There is a heated debate in regards to the amount of affection mothers and fathers need to show to their child in order for them to grow up mentally healthy. Some believe that the more the better, while others claim that kissing and hugging your children too much is intrusive and breaks their personal space.
The truth lies somewhere in the middle: everything is good in moderation. Thus, you should not overindulge in it and become a helicopter parent, but you must make sure that your child is getting enough love and physical touch from you. Children need to be constantly reassured of their importance in your life. They need to hear warm phrases and ‘I love you’s often in order to not develop a scare of manifesting their feelings.
Often, it is the case that people that did not receive enough love as kids tend to grow up emotionally disabled and simply not know how to show affection to the people they truly care for.
According to Child Trends, children who are constantly reassured of being loved and valued have higher self-esteem, improved academic performance, better parent-child communication, and fewer psychological and behavior problems. At the same time, those kids that happened to not experience that much affection at a young age tend to have lower self-esteem and to feel more alienated, hostile, aggressive, and anti-social.
Parents’ Codependency Can Impair the Child’s Ability to Have Fun
One of the worst problems that can be developed within a family is having a dependent and co-dependent figures. Not only this is detrimental to everyone involved as it is, but it also shifts family dynamics to the point of no return.
On a number of occasions, children that are faced with a parent that is either dependent or co-dependent feel like they have to be responsible for them and make important decisions themselves. This makes them grow up too early and never fully experience the beauty of being a child and childhood in general.
There are a couple of possible implications of it. One of the most common paths that a child brought up in a family with dependencies can take in the future is reverting back to child-like behavior and dodging the adult responsibilities as soon as they have an opportunity to do that. While it does not seem to be too harmful at first sight, it is actually very problematic and can have significant adverse effects on the quality of life of those people. The reason for it is that once you are an adult, you have more social freedom and, subsequently, more to lose. A mistake in adulthood is much worse than a similar mistake made during your childhood or teenage years.
Alternatively, those kids who were brought up in a family where co-dependency existed, never learn to let go and hold onto the situation. They never truly learn to enjoy their life and to have fun. The extent of this problem may vary depending on the personality of the person, but can range from being mildly inconvenient to result in suicide!
About the Author:
Brenner Thomas is a blogger who enjoys writing articles about home decoration and house security. After working as a writer for various media publications, Brenner decided to start his own blog where he covers topics of lifestyle, house decoration and home security.