How conflicts between father and mother influence children

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What is a conflict situation?

The word conflict has numerous meanings, including: the opposition between interests and feelings, misunderstanding, confusion and disorder. What all these definitions have in common is the idea of ​​tension.

A tension is the result of the action of opposing forces. In the individual, for example, this implies saying about the strength of instinct and that of the pressure exerted by civilization. Conflict is always the result, in this sense, of a situation of imbalance.

When dealing with family relationships, the existence of imbalance and, therefore, tensions and conflicts, is a reality. This is because the family is formed from the union of individuals who, in themselves, already contain conflicts.

be a father, be a mother

It is not new that it is known that social roles exert a strong effect on human beings. In life in society, we are constantly asked to play roles intended for us. These social roles are not always in agreement with who we are and, in this case, situations of tension are generated.

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An example of a widespread social role is that of motherhood. There are cultural constructions that lead us to believe that all women are prone to motherhood. This is the construction of a social role, that of the mother, and its attribution to a person: the woman. The same thing happens with parents. Characteristics of a man are expected from the birth of a child, which are not necessarily inherent to that individual. In this sense, living the roles of father and mother can be difficult for many people. This difficulty is felt in the family relationship. Many couples, for a variety of reasons, are in constant conflict with the obligations of being a parent, and this has a direct influence on the children's lives.

How does a child deal with parental conflicts?

A conflicted home is not necessarily a disaster, as long as conflicts are brought to the fore with a concern for discussion and understanding.

When parents are unable to talk about their conflicts, whether internal or arising from family life, the child tends to feel the tension that exists in the relationship between family members. This can generate, in many cases, the child's feeling of guilt for the present discomfort.

In cases where parents are able to express their difficulties and limitations, children are more likely to understand that conflicts are the result of forces beyond their actions.

It is important for parents to know that every way of dealing with children is educational in some way: parents who do not speak, educate to silence. Parents who discuss, express themselves, educate for communication. In this sense, every effort that is made must be directed, not towards silencing the conflict, but towards its understanding. Sincerity within the family is essential. Creating an environment where internal tensions can be externalized and understood can resolve and prevent many future conflicts.

What are the main causes of family conflicts?

Numerous authors have tried, over the years, to develop theories that attribute family conflicts to specific causes. Among them are: financial problems, occupational stress, difficulties in adapting to the family reality. For others, regardless of the cause, family conflicts are always based on the construction, over the years, of a dynamic of silencing conflicts and maintaining tensions. Thus, the common characteristic of causes is the difficulty in expressing internal tensions. The family, in these cases, is not a place where difficulties can be expressed.

How to find out more?

The film Little Miss Sunshine (Little Miss Sunshine, 2006) is a very rich example for discussing and understanding the importance of dialogue in the family relationship. The complexity of each character makes the plot a perfect illustration of the difficulty of uniting different personalities under the same roof.

Juliana Spinelli Ferrari
Brazil School Collaborator
Graduated in Psychology from UNESP - Universidade Estadual Paulista
Brief psychotherapy course by FUNDEB - Foundation for the Development of Bauru
Master's Student in School Psychology and Human Development at USP - University of São Paulo

Source: Brazil School -
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