Is Parental Fighting Harmful?

Does parental fighting mold an infant’s brain, affecting the way he or she deals with conflict later? Why do some children respond poorly when exposed to parental conflict, while others seem to cope much better?

University of Oregon researchers used harmless brain scan technology to study how infants react to angry sounding noise and voices.

To ensure accurate scans and very still subjects, parents brought two dozen babies to the lab at bedtime and allowed them to sleep in the scanner. Using a variety of vocal tones, researchers piped in sounds.

Infants from high-conflict homes showed a more intense response to angry sounds.

Are children in these environments more damaged or more resilient? Scientists are not sure, time and more research will tell how deeply they are affected.

Parental Fighting and Emotionally Focused Therapy

I hear from couples I am working with that the work they are doing with me is positively affecting their parenting. The first time I heard this comment I was naturally very pleased, and, surprised! My focus is the couple relationship, not the parenting relationship. Now that I’ve heard the comment a number of times and reflected on it, I actually anticipate the comment instead of being surprised by it. And it makes sense to me too!

EFT (Emotionally Focused Therapy) helps couples be less reactive with each other, which in turn gives each parent more emotional resources to tune into their children’s emotions and needs. Children experience their parents as emotionally responsive and available to them, which helps them feel much more secure. Win-win for everyone in the family!

Read the full article here: Shhh, The Kids Can Hear You Arguing (Even When They’re Asleep)