Ah, the great debate—should parents argue in front of their kids? Everyone has a disagreement at some point or another. That’s just life. Heck, Meghan Markle may have literally married her prince charming, but at some point in their marriage he’ll forget to put the lid of the toilet seat down just one too many times and…and boom, an argument is born. So if disagreeing is just another part of social life, does that mean we should hide it from our kiddos? A recent episode of The Atlantic’s Home School, by Wharton School psychologist and New York Times best-selling author Adam Grant, shows the answer to this question may very well be, “No!”
In a perfect world, mom and dad’s relationship would be all giggles and rainbows. At least, in front of the littles. But this is the real world. And mom and dad don’t always agree. Plenty of parents and parenting experts feel that arguing in front of your kids just isn’t okay. But Grant doesn’t exactly agree, and we’re a-okay with him arguing his case.
Okay, okay, so Grant isn’t advocating for couples to get knock-down, drag-out in front of their kids. But he does bring up the positive aspects of debate and disagreement. Again, NOT screaming freak-outs.
Children need to develop conflict resolution skills. And what better way to build these abilities than by watching those who are nearest and dearest? Arguing isn’t always the big bad. Sometimes it can even lead to creative solutions to old problems.
Grant suggests that parents need to start, “Teaching kids to frame conflict as debate and to voice those disagreements in a thoughtful way.” Hmm. We’re certainly not debating that!
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