TODAY

TODAY   |  September 25, 2013

Should parents fight in front of their kids?

Some experts say that in certain situations, arguing in front of your children can be beneficial for the child’s development. Child psychologist Kirsten Cullen Sharma advises that it’s important to show your child productive conflict resolution, but adds that there are negative messages you should avoid.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> street journal this morning, the family that fights together stays together. this was an interesting article. it was about parents that bicker in front of the kids. some experts say in certain situations with certain limits it can help with a child's development so i guess that begs the question, did your parents argue in front of you when you were kids?

>> yeah, they did.

>> yeah.

>> loudly.

>> are they going to break up, i don't know?

>> i remember that myself. a lot of fights but the ones that there were, i remember. carson you asked viewers what they said about this.

>> pretty split. i'll show you the result in our poll that we put up. you think that it's -- let me show you the numbers here. one of the interesting things that people said that you have to be careful if you're going to fight in front of your kids is if you want the schools to know your family business because kids talk. that's interesting take on it. also it really depends on what you consider to be arguing. if it's healthy and fair and balanced then it's okay. here's what we asked. do you argue in front of your kids. 63% said yes and 37% said no but it feels from reading your tweets that it's 50/50 and depends on how you define arguing. some people thought it was healthy because it's good to let kids know that you can agree and agree to disagree but it's all in how it's done. that's the result. thank you guys. back to you.

>> thank you, carson.

>> we want to continue the conversation with a child psychologist at nyu's child study center. good to see you.

>> thank you.

>> do you buy that there can be constructive fighting that takes place in front of the kids.

>> yes, i think they can teach problem solving skills and conflict resolution skills. one of the things we want them thinking about is where to cut themselves off. there's certain skills they can use with their kids and they can use in their own relationships down the line.

>> it's important for the parents not to fight in front of their children and go into the silent treatment for days on end afterwards.

>> nonverbal communication can be just as powerful and verbal communication . if you're slamming the door and throwing your hands up in the air you can send important and negative messages to your children.

>> is part of the argument that being silent or having this thick tension in the air that never gets resolved also has a bad effect potentially on children.

>> yeah. right, exactly. when we're talking about the power of verbal communication and nonverbal communication and the effect that that has on children we really want, in place of that, we want children to learn important problem solving skills.

>> so here are the tips for parents. set an anger cutoff point which is self-explanatory. avoid triangulation which means?

>> so what that means is sometimes parents include children in their arguments. say a mom and dad are having a fight and a mom says didn't you hear your dad say that earlier this morning and they try to pull the child into the argument and that takes the child out of their role and almost puts that child at the parent level and that can be really confusing and that can cause a lot of problems between the child and the parent down the line if the child models those skills.

>> we also talked about skip the silent treatment . there's some issues that are off limits. you should never fight about certain things with the kids, right?

>> yes, those types of things are personal to the marriage and to the relationship. some parents feel like it's very difficult to talk about financial issues in front of the children and then i think discipline strategies are critical to think about a head of time and not decide those things in front of the children.

>> thank you so much. good to get your perspective and we want to thank our friend taat the wall street journal for the topic.