Bickering parents put the emotional growth of their children in jeopardy, according to new research by New York University.
Marital problems can increase negative emotions in children, increase insecurity and anxiety, which in turn might affect their future.
Researchers show that children who are exposed to verbal and physical aggression between parents suffer from an inability to identify and control emotions. According to the findings, household chaos and poverty for a long time during early childhood also affects the emotional adjustment of young children.
"Our study points to ways in which aggression between parents may powerfully shape children's emotional adjustment," C. Cybele Raver, a professor of applied psychology at New York University's Steinhardt school of culture, education and human development, said in press statement.
Researchers examined the children's exposure to various forms of adversity and how they predicted their ability to recognize and regulate negative emotions such as fear and sadness. They studied 1,025 children and their families for the research.
The findings revealed that exposure to verbal and physical aggression between parents right from infancy through early childhood majorly predicted children's ability to precisely identify emotions at 58 months of age. "Arguing and fighting is psychologically stressful for the adults caught in conflict; this study demonstrates the costs of that conflict for children in the household as well," Raver said.
"Children who witness their parents fighting may have trouble regulating their emotions in less risky situations such as a classroom," Raver noted.
Researchers explained that it was necessary that parents regulated their anger, frustration and worry while balancing the demands of work, family and romantic partnership, especially when the income is low.
According to a 2009 article from NBC News, the fighting style of the parents can be "constructive" or "destructive." Spouses should learn to respect and listen to each other. Despite the rage, partners should not forget to let their better half know they feel affection either through a physical gesture, like a pat on the leg, or by saying something nice and complimenting him or her. This means that fighting in a "proper" way will not harm the children, much but verbal abuse surely will.
The findings of the current study appeared in the journal Development and Psychopathology.