I think a child should be sheltered from unhappy parents as I believe arguing, shouting etc in a relationship, will teach a young child that this is the "normal" way to behave and the child could go on to seeking the same in later life.
We learn at a young age and if we see something over and over I think it becomes automatic or hard wired that we will behave similar as that is what we know.
I think once this damage is done, it is difficult to get rid of the thoughts.
I therefore do not believe couples should stay together if the relationship is not working as I think it is better for the children to have two happy but separated parents who they can interact separately with.
Agreed Finy. As children, we imitate what we see. I know that I picked up on some of my parents' "conflict resolution" approaches and brought them to my own marriage. I simply thought it was normal to go days on end, sometimes up to a week/s at a time, without talking to your spouse. This sort of thinking, as you said, was very difficult to leave behind. I think, as parents, we have a responsibility to our children, our partners and to ourselves to do the best we can and, if we don't know what that looks like, seek help if and when the need arises.
Experiencing a certain amount of distress is an inevitable part of human life, just as experiencing happiness is...and children aren't exempt from this. For example, most children are happy when they're given a hug or a present, but get upset if they're chastised or they argue with their friends.
However, some situations are distressing for a child, far beyond what is emotionally healthy...and it's best if they're sheltered from these. While dealing with some distressing situations( for example, their pet dies or their parents get angry with them for being naughty) can help build emotional resilience, if children are constantly in a violent, abusive or frightening situation, this can seriously damage them long-term. In this sense, children need to be protected. If they're not, later in life they can suffer serious emotional and psychological problems that can impact every part of their lives.
My personal opinion, no child should have to have any excess of unhappiness, in their lives.
There will be a lifetime of that later.
Sure they can see a tad of it........but the other 80% should not be shown to them, too soon.
It can lead to depression later for them!
I don't believe that children should be sheltered from unhappiness because it is an inevitable part of everyday life. Better that a child learns this from the get go and is supported through it by his or her parents so as to learn how best to cope with unhappiness later in life.
Having said that, parents should refrain from arguing around their children - that sort of stress, tension and unhappiness is unnecessary. Instead, parents should endeavour to calmly and respectfully discuss issues away from children because, nine times out of ten, these discussions should not concern the children and if the children do overhear the discussion, they are faced with a healthy example of conflict resolution. I know all of this is easier said than done, but we can always try.
We do not live in a perfect world,unfortunately.I think that where possible we do of course shield our children from major unhappiness,but some things can not be hidden or ignored! I had a brain tumor found when my son was a week and a half shy of his 12th birthday.There was no way this could not be fully explained to him,as I was a sole parent by then,and he was seeing me in the hospital all the time for two weeks after the surgery.This is THE scariest thing which we ever had to share,but it brought us even closer than we already had been. Even now,after 17 years,we are the closest of any mother and son I know of. While married,I must admit that we did not argue in front of our son.And neither did we bad-mouth each other after we split up. THAT kind of unhappiness is between adults and does not have to cause deep unhappiness to any children in the situation.THAT is just cruel.
Thank you so much for your replies to this very serious question posed by Finy.
Having always been in and out of hospital while my son was growing up,we actually learned to deal with most situations by use of our very dark and witty senses of humour!! So despite everything,we have just about always been genuinely very happy. Happiness is such an important state of mind,and one which we can all attain if we really wish for it. As I have mentioned in other replies.I am an extremely content and happy woman despite some awful bad fortune which has been dealt to me. I am Happy because I CHOOSE TO BE!!!
Kids need to see all facets of their parents' relationship: the ups and the downs, the conflicts and the happy times, the stresses and the pleasures. I think by observing what is part of a relationship, children can have some sense of direction when it comes to developing their own relationships. They should know that life is not always happy, not always free of troubles, they also need to learn coping mechanisms so that they can deal with difficult times and move out of it. So I think my answer is that children should not be artificially shielded from all the negative in their parents' lives.
Where possible, yes, however not to the point where they are brought up believing that nothing bad ever happens...I think smart parents teach a good balance of perception of the world....(my son may not totally agree with me!)
I think a child should be sheltered as much as is possible from the problems of adults. Kids are so innocent and usually want to help out and giving them such problems when they are to young to be equipped with solutions isn't fair on them.
Sorry, this is the illusion that many adults feed themselves. The point is if the parents are unhappy with each other even if they don't fight in front of the children, they know. They sense the tension and they respond to it in many different ways. Usually this response is a way of getting the parents to come together to help "fix" their behaviour. The truth is the world is not perfect, so it is your role as a parent to role model the skills which appropriately deals with conflict. After all conflict is part of normal communication patterns between everyone. Denying that conflict exists sets your child up for maladaptive relationship patterns in the future.