There is something to be said for openness and honesty in relationships, and in family homes. It’s good for children to hear their parents debate, split up chores, make compromises, and even argue, as long as it’s done with respect and apologies are also made public later on.
That said, a stable home and a solid partnership between parents is important to children’s development and emotional well-being, so here are 5 things you should never, ever say unless you’re in private.
5. My body is ____.
Even if you feel uncomfortable or have gained a few pounds, making comments about your weight can have a negative effect on your child’s self-image.
Don’t talk about being “fat” or “skinny,” but it’s ok to say things about making healthy and good choices most of the time.
Your kids are always watching and listening, and they will internalize the messages you post about yourself.
4. You’re too sensitive.
We’re never allowed to tell other people how they can feel.
Saying something like this invalidates the other person’s feelings and tells them they’re wrong to feel upset.
3. You never do anything around here.
Work-life balance, and the unpaid labor we all have to do at home, is a sensitive topic.
In front of your kids, though, you should always strive to acknowledge how each partner contributes in different ways – even if the same person always makes dinner or takes out the trash.
2. I don’t care.
If your partner is asking for your opinion, there are better and more polite ways to say you’re indifferent rather than saying “I don’t care.”
Try to give at least a little feedback.
1. Look what you did.
This phrase makes the mistake into a big deal, which is rude and disheartening to the person who made it. Instead, you can try focusing on a) how the mistake can be fixed, and b) what we can learn from it for the future.
I’d like to think most of us didn’t need to be told, but you never know!
How careful are you about keeping things behind close doors? Tell us how you handle marital conflict in the comments!