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Fighting and Conflict in Front of the Kids – Bergen County

Fighting and Conflict in Front of the Kids

Kids model themselves after the important adults in their lives, their parents. They learn to imitate adult behavior, model what it means to be a man or a woman, and learn about relationships between men and women. When parents respect and value each other, their children learn about equality in relationships.

There is no such thing as a conflict-free marriage. Parents will argue and disagree, but when parents often argue heatedly and are disrespectful to each other, they teach their children undesirable lessons. Angry voices, negative facial expressions, constant yelling, and hurtfulness toward one another teach kids how to be hostile.

Sometimes unavoidable arguments will be displayed in front of the kids. It is useful for kids to observe adults engage in respectful disagreements. They can then see how individuals resolve their arguments and that all is not lost. It reassures them that even if there is distance, relationships can remain whole.

Knowing how to fight effectively is very important. Here are some guidelines on how to have a “good fight”:

Agree on How to Disagree: Decide when, how, etc. Some couples may decide never to go to bed angry. Others may not allow problems to fester. Other couples may agree that if a problem is not discussed within 48 hours, then it’s history.

Don’t Go Overboard: Express your feelings without threatening or belittling your partner. No name calling, blaming, or dragging the kids into the argument. Everybody loses with these destructive tactics.

Focus on the Fight at Hand: Do not bring up past disagreements. Talk about the immediate issue. Do not use phrases like, “You always…” or “You never…”

Take a Time Out: If you are too heated to discuss things, don’t! Take a break and cool down. Move hot topics behind closed doors.

It’s ok for kids to see fights, as long as they see the resolution. Let the kids know you have reached a compromise, have said you’re sorry, reached a solution or peacefully agreed to disagree.

Remember that nothing benefits kids more than seeing their parents as humans with faults but with the ability to make corrections.

The Mars & Venus Counseling Center is here when you need us.  We are located in Teaneck, Oradell, and Ramsey, NJ.

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Ramsey Beating the Post-Vacation Blues

Beating the Post-Vacation Blues

by Morrisa Drobnick, LCSW, staff writer and advice columnist of “KIDS Magazine”

So long, Summertime. Good-bye swim clubs, beaches, lakes, and camps! Farewell to fun.

Parents and kids alike have a tough time re-adjusting to the real-life demands of school and work. The problems of re-entry take on many forms, depending on the length of the vacation, the ages of the kids, and whether or not both parents work outside the home.

Some people resist the change of pace. People have to deal with having their time tightly structured once more. When vacation ends, kids have to be more disciplined and that creates certain tensions in the family. Making a post-vacation transition is particularly hard for those people who normally find it difficult to change from one mental state to another. They are the kind of people for whom disorganization is quite distressing.

The first part to adjustments is recognizing that there is a problem. You need to anticipate that you and your children might experience these feelings and be on your guard. Accept the fact that this is going to be a somewhat chaotic period of your life. Things will not be under control. The kids are going to be crabby. There will be much complaining. It is easier if it is predictable because it feels less out of control.

If you are the kind of person who does have trouble with transitions, do not come back from vacation on Sunday and go to work Monday. Give yourself time to adjust gradually instead of whizzing through all of your lists at top speed. Children need extra time, not to mention extra attention.

Daily rituals can help us feel calm. The nighttime bath, story-time, a little TV can develop the sense of order and security. Start order in your children’s lives a week or so before school begins. Remember that gradual change may be less stressful for kids.

Attitudes are contagious. I believe in the power of positive thinking. If you think it’s terrific to be going back to work, the kids will like going back to school. (Well, maybe not!) The point is to accentuate the positive. Put more play in your daily life. Do things you really enjoy. Let your kids do things they really enjoy. Do not save all your fun for vacation is the end of having fun. Plan a fun family event for during the first few weeks of September to help prolong the relaxed Summertime spirit.