Everyday Ethics

I’d like to pose a question for all the parents out there — and for all those who lived through tough family situations as they were growing up. 

Is it OK for parents to fight in front of their kids?
I’m no parenting expert, and that’s not really the focus of this blog, but an event happened in my immediate sphere last evening that brought the topic to mind. There were angry parents and a tearful ten-year-old involved. No one meant for anyone to get upset; it just happened, and the child was a witness to an argument between his parents that freaked him out a bit. No lasting harm, I don’t think — his parents explained the reason for their fight later, explained things weren’t going down the tubes between them or anything — they’d just had a spat. He calmed down, wiped his tears, went back to playing his video games.
Still, I couldn’t help wondering… should they not have practiced more restraint?

In my own childhood — and I say this with as much honesty and love as possible — there was no great level of restraint practiced. Loud voices, hurt feelings, ill-chosen words flew with no very great thought to consequences. And sure, I survived. But it’s nothing I’d want to inflict on the next generation. Still, I’m not a parent, and I’ve never experienced the pressures attendant with that great responsibility. So I don’t know if I’d be able to hold it together and bite my tongue, never say a sharp word to my spouse or another adult in front of my child.
That’s why I’m turning it over to you all. What’s your take on this topic… “Take it outside”, or “They’ll take it in stride”?

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