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Los Angeles Moms Blog: Fight in front of your kids

(MCT) — I use to think it was important for my husband and me to show a united front to our daughter. That was pretty easy to pull off when she was a baby, but now that she's five it's a bit challenging at times and frankly I'm not even sure it's a good idea anymore. What kind of example of a relationship does it set for her? Does she come to the conclusion that there is no room for individual thought in parenting?

For example, a few weeks ago I watched the movie, Food Inc, and have since decided that our already pretty clean diet needs to get cleaner. Not to point fingers or anything but my husband is the one who brings the partially hydrogenated everything into our home. So I needed to get him on board, which he was open to. Or I thought he was.

Sunday mornings I go for a walk with a friend and my husband and daughter go out to breakfast. I had asked him to cut fast food restaurants (McDonald, Burger King, Jack in the box, etc.) out of these breakfasts. But the first Sunday of the clean eating, that's where they had decided to go. So in front of the child we had a rather heated discussion about why it was or was not appropriate.

My point being that it was not healthy, the meat is filled with antibiotics and ammonia, and the buns have high fructose corn syrup in them, and there are just a million better choices in our immediate neighborhood. His argument was that fast food is cheaper and the kid likes it. To which I countered of course it's cheaper it's mass produced, but if you want something of quality, you have to pay more, and that fast food isn't the only food the kid likes so find something else.

This argument went on for about 15 minutes with our daughter listening all the while. I finally prevailed and they found somewhere with a healthy menu to eat. Now my point is, wasn't it better for her to hear us hammer out our position on fast food? She got to hear us both give our opinions, saw us both consider each other's points, and finally come to a unified front. Rather than just have asked to go to McDonald and been told no.

I guess the key to fighting in front of your kids is to do it respectfully. No throwing things or calling names. Like everything else you are modeling behavior. How do we resolve a conflict, is a question my daughter has had answered on multiple occasions by her parents fighting/arguing to resolve their own conflicts. As an added benefit she sees that our choices are not arbitrary, we don't just say no to things for no reason. She just sat and listened to the pros and cons and even if it's not the outcome she wanted she's heard, in detail, why that's the way it is.

So please, fight in front of your kids today.

This is an original post from the Los Angeles Moms Blog, www.lamomsblog.com/. You can find Elise arguing about entertainment at Elise's Ramblings. (c) 2010, Elise Crane Derby.