Fight A Better Fight At Home
It is a quandary every couple with children eventually faces: Should we fight in front of the kids?
The answer is complicated. Child psychologists who study the issue tend to say yes -- if parents can manage to argue in a healthy way. That means disagreeing respectfully and avoiding name-calling, insults, dredging up past infractions or storming off in anger, for starters.
'Kids are going to have disagreements with their friends, their peers, co-workers, ' says Patrick Davies, a professor of psychology at the University of Rochester. 'If they don't witness disagreements and how they are handled in constructive ways, they are not well-equipped to go out into the world and address inevitable conflict.'
罗切斯特大学(University of Rochester)心理学教授帕特里克·戴维斯(Patrick Davies)说：“孩子们将会跟他们的朋友、同伴、同事产生分歧，如果他们没有见过分歧以及分歧的建设性处理方式，那么他们就不能做好足够的准备去闯荡世界，去处理不可避免的冲突。”
Dr. Davies and fellow researchers found that 'constructive' marital conflict was associated with an increase in children's emotional security, in their study of 235 families with children ages 5 to 7 published in 2009 in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. Other studies have linked constructive marital conflict with the healthy development of children's problem-solving and coping skills and even happiness.
于2009年发表在《儿童心理学和精神病学杂志》(Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry)上。他们发现，“建设性”的婚内冲突与儿童情绪安全感的增加存在关联。其他一些研究也曾发现，建设性婚内冲突与儿童问题解决与应对能力、甚至幸福感的健康发展之间存在关联。
A growing awareness of how and where to fight with a spouse when kids are involved is being spurred in part by a proliferation of research linking children's exposure to a lot of unhealthy marital conflict -- characterized by hostility, threats and insults -- with a greater risk of anxiety disorders, depression and behavior problems. Also, a generation of young parents who grew up as kids of divorce in the 1970s and 1980s are now scrutinizing how their parents fought. Some vow to do things differently with their own progeny.
Even infants can be affected by angry disagreements -- even when they're asleep. A study published in May in the journal Psychological Science took 24 babies from 6- to 12-months-old and exposed them to various tones of voice (very angry, mildly angry, happy and neutral) while they were lying asleep in an fMRI scanner. Those infants in families with higher levels of conflict between spouses had elevated responses in parts of the brain associated with reactions to stress and emotion regulation when exposed to the very angry voices during the study. Babies 'are still sensitive to things even when they're asleep, ' says Alice Graham, a doctoral candidate in psychology at the University of Oregon and lead author of the study. 'The idea of it being a time to let loose when infants are asleep is probably not accurate.'
(University of Oregon)心理学博士生艾丽丝·格雷厄姆(Alice Graham)说：“即便是在睡着的时候，婴儿对事物也是敏感的。认为在婴儿睡着时可以随心所欲的观点恐怕是不准确的。”
Still, beyond universal agreement against physical confrontation, opinions vary on the right approach. Some experts say parents should keep arguments away from children because it's just too hard to fight well. 'If [parents] are going to have disagreements, they should do that in private as much as possible, ' says Thomas McInerny, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics. 'It is the rare instance when [couples] can keep it rational and keep it calm.'
但在普遍赞同不要搞肢体冲突之外，对于应该怎样争吵，大家各有各的看法。有些专家说，父母不应在孩子面前吵架，因为把架吵好真的很难做到。美国儿科学会(American Academy of Pediatrics)会长托马斯·麦金纳尼(Thomas McInerny)说：“如果（父母）之间要发生争论，那么他们就应该尽量私下进行。在争论时是很难保持理性、保持平静的。”
How to keep things from getting too heated for little eyes and ears? Child psychologist Kirsten Cullen Sharma suggests that parents agree in advance on an anger cutoff point for arguments. On an anger scale of one to 10, she asks individuals to define the number when they feel they start to yell, curse or generally lose control. (For one person, it could be a five. For another, it could be a seven.) During a disagreement, when Mom or Dad hits the cutoff number, the couple tables the argument to a time when the kids are asleep or aren't around. Either party can say when the other person has reached that limit. 怎样防止火药味在幼小的眼睛和耳朵面前变得过于浓重？儿童心理学家科尔斯滕·卡伦(Kirsten Cullen)提议，父母亲应当事先讲好在愤怒情绪达到什么程度时停止争吵。她要求人们按10分制给自己的愤怒程度打分，确定在达到哪个分数的时候，他们觉得就要开始吼叫、咒骂，或者宽泛地说是要失去控制。（这个人可能是五，那个人可能是七。）争论期间，当妈妈或爸爸的愤怒程度达到应该停止争吵的那个数字时，两人就把这次争吵推到孩子睡着的时候或不在身边的时候。不管是哪一个人达到了这个极限，对方都可以指出。
'One of the great skills parents can offer their children is conflict resolution. That helps [kids] in their future relationships, ' says Dr. Cullen Sharma, co-director of the early childhood clinical service at the Child Study Center at NYU Langone Medical Center.
纽约大学朗格尼医学中心(NYU Langone Medical Center)儿童研究中心(Child Study Center)负责幼儿临床服务的联席主任卡伦·夏尔玛(Cullen Sharma)说：“冲突的化解是父母能给孩子的好技能之一。这有利于孩子将来的人际关系。” Caroline Rheinfrank and Chopper Bernet have an unofficial five-minute time limit for disagreements in front of their three children, ages 15, 14 and 11. 'Now that they are older, they comprehend more, ' says Ms. Rheinfrank, a stay-at-home mother in Los Angeles. Or as Mr. Bernet, an actor, explains, 'Parents need timeouts, too.' The couple also tries to prevent potential blowups by cutting each other extra slack during times with high bicker potential, including while in the car and just before dinner.
洛杉矶的卡罗琳·莱因弗兰克(Caroline Rheinfrank)和乔珀·贝尼特(Chopper Bernet)有三个孩子，分别是15岁、14岁和11岁，莱因弗兰克是一位全职太太，贝尼特是一名演员。两人之间对于在孩子面前的争吵有一个不成文的五分钟限制。莱因弗兰克说：“他们长大了，所以懂得更多了。”或者像贝尼特所说的，“当父母的也需要叫暂停”。在吵架可能性较高的时候（包括开车时或晚饭前），夫妻两人还会多宽容对方一些，以防发火。
Parents should use their kids' reaction during a fight as a guide, experts say. A crying child is an obvious sign to end an argument. But there are more subtle cues that a kid is distressed, Dr. Davies says. 'When they start freezing, they are stuck still for a few seconds, that is a really negative sign that they feel like they are in extreme danger, ' he says. Other kids tend to 'slump over, lethargic, and look like they are sort of depressed.'
Some kids misbehave to try to distract parents from the conflict. Other children attempt to insert themselves and try to mediate or take sides. All of these are signs that an argument needs to be put on hold, Dr. Davies says. 有些孩子通过胡作非为来转移父母注意力以结束冲突。有些孩子则是试图介入争吵，希望调解或站队。戴维斯博士说，这些都说明争吵应当暂停。
It is not OK to drag kids into a parental fight or encourage them to take sides, Dr. Cullen Sharma says. And don't be fooled if a teen appears nonchalant
about his parents' below-the-belt fighting: 'They roll their eyes, but that does not make it less painful, ' says Alan E. Kazdin, director of the Yale Parenting Center and a professor of psychology and child psychiatry at Yale University. 卡伦·夏尔玛博士说，把孩子拖入父母的争吵当中或鼓励他们站队，都是不可以的。另外，在十几岁的孩子看上去对父母亲的过火争吵显得漠不关心的时候，不要被表象蒙蔽了。耶鲁大学(Yale University)心理学与儿童精神病学教授、耶鲁育儿研究中心(Yale Parenting Center)主任艾伦·卡兹丁(Alan E. Kazdin)说：“他们翻白眼，但这样做并不能减轻痛苦。”
Making sure kids see some kind of resolution to the argument is crucial, Dr. Kazdin says. 'Is there a nice makeup period and mundane chatter? Routine kind of banter will greatly alleviate the child's anxiety, ' he says. This doesn't mean that the conflict has to be solved. You may just decide to settle it later or agree to disagree. And even more critical, Dr. Kazdin says, is what goes on in the marital relationship during non-conflict times. 'The proportion of fighting to affectionate talk is the issue, ' he says.
Georgi and Rick Silverman have decided not to hide arguments -- often about the division of household labor or Mr. Silverman's weekend sports viewing -- from their kids, ages 9 and 3. But they also make sure the children see them make up. 'We'll hold hands and he'll hug me and we'll say we love each other, ' says Ms. Silverman, a stay-at-home mother in Houston. 'Even if I'm a little upset, I want the kids to know, 'I still love your Mom and I'm not going anywhere, ' ' says Mr. Silverman, the chief financial officer of a facilities-maintenance business, whose parents divorced when he was 13.
休斯敦的杰奥尔吉·西尔弗曼(Georgi Silverman)和里克·西尔弗曼(Rick Silverman)已经决定不对九岁、三岁的两个孩子隐瞒争吵（常常是关于谁做家务或里克周末看体育比赛的事情）。但他们也会确保孩子们看到他们和好。杰奥尔吉是一位全职母亲，里克是一家设备维修公司的首席财务长，13岁的时候父母就离婚了。杰奥尔吉说：“我们会手拉手，他会拥抱我，我们会说我们爱着对方。”里克说：“我即使有些不高兴，也要让孩子知道‘我仍然爱着你们的妈妈，哪里也不会去’。”
Bottling up anger and giving a spouse the cold shoulder when the kids are around can end up making things worse. The silent treatment is actually more distressing for kids than a healthy argument, Dr. Davies says. 'Kids pick up on that. But they don't know what is going on, ' he says, adding that children may think the fight -- and its potential consequences -- are much worse than they actually are.
candidate ['k?ndideit, -d?t]video
n. 混乱；骚乱vt. 使失调；扰乱
conflict [k?n'flikt, 'k?nflikt]video
n. 冲突，矛盾；斗争；争执vi. 冲突，抵触；争执；战斗