Family arguing leaves a long-lasting imprint on children

This is one of the roots of “mental illness” and we’re all doing it aren’t we?

When we argue “mental illness” is hereditary don’t you think sick family dynamics might just possibly be one of the major problems??

And if we’re sensitive, don’t you think that even “normal” dysfunction can profoundly hurt and traumatize?? I think so. Absolutely.

But we are in a nation in denial. We do not own our dysfunction and happily pass it on to our children. Our whole society is set up to make our children suffer—then we grow up and suffer unless we choose to do the hard work. We need to wake up as a culture.

From The Boston Globe:

The family argument starts over something small. Your spouse promised to be home on time, and wasn’t. No apology followed. Resentment festers, and the argument escalates. Before long, it’s no longer about punctuality. It’s about respect. The volume goes up, the tone turns harsher, the wounds get deeper.

The kids are caught in the crossfire, just as you were when your own parents fought their wars of words. Or maybe you’re fighting with them, too, stamping out brush fires of teenage rebellion.

It’s just normal family tension, you tell yourself. But what if you knew the effect of such arguments could linger for more than a decade, clouding your child’s future?

There is new evidence that family arguing leaves a long-lasting imprint on children, diminishing their future happiness and ability to prosper in the world – even when the anger is verbal, not physical. The evidence comes from a landmark study that began more than 31 years ago in Quincy kindergartens, and continues with little fanfare today. The Simmons Longitudinal Study has followed more than 300 one-time kindergartners into adulthood, tracking them along the way, recording their childhood experiences, and matching that history against who they are in middle age. (read the rest here)

7 thoughts on “Family arguing leaves a long-lasting imprint on children

  1. Just the other day I thought about kids who bully other kids. At school, sometimes already at kindergarten. They make a big thing of getting hold of kids, who bully others, and tell them, that it’s not ok. The CBT-approach at its worst, you might say. ‘Why the heck don’t they make just as big a thing out of getting hold of bullying kids’ parents?’ I thought. These kids did learn bullying behavior somewhere. And they make use of it, because they need to let out all the aggression inside, that is caused by them being “bullied” by their abusive parents. But no, the disturbing kids get disciplined, and into the bargain often talked about as if they were born monsters, and the abuse at home can undisturbed continue.

    Blaming the victim. Just as the medical model of “mental illness”.

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  2. The above that you talk about is verbal abuse. Bevy…yours especially really bothers me. Family is to nurture…not to degrade. It just makes me sick to think that people would treat their wife and mother that way…and think that just because it was verbal and physical that it was okay.

    Before I joined this anti-med movement, I always believed that I was a sensitive person who became bipolar because of the damage of verbal abuse. I believed that my brain had undergone biochemical changes because of the years of verbal stress. I love both my parents, but verbal abuse was present. Bevy’s example is right out there and everyone can get that. Some is very, very insidious.

    Basically if you don’t feel good after trying to share your thoughts and opinions…it is very possible that you are being verbally abused.

    It wasn’t inherited in the genes.

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  3. I still remember the fights – well more the feelings I had when my Mom and Dad fought – I usually hid under the covers and plugged my ears. But it was very upsetting to me. 😦
    My Dad for YEARS used to berate Mom about this and that … she would escape from the dinner table by going for a drive which invariably I would go with her. When we got older – my Mom would say at the dinner table – “I was thinking …” and sons and Dad would all whistle in a sarcastic tone … that usually shut her up … Very sad to treat those you “supposedly” love with such disregard. Makes me very sad to think about it.
    My brother is schizo … and some accuse me of being insane …

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  4. nice article. and yes, “We need to wake up as a culture.”

    this is yet another reason I’d like to see compassion taught in schools. we can break the cycle with our children today.

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  5. This post really hit home. When I was growing up my father would drink on week-ends and verbally abuse my mother in a loud raging tone. This would last for 3 days straight and I found it terrifying. I know for a fact that his screaming out of control behavior had a lasting impact on me.

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