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Discussion Starter #1
My questions really is how to stop arguments, with my wife, in front of our young children without being a pushover.
My wife has realised that I am particularly worried about them having to hear the shouting and swearing and I often ask her to continue with the argument away from them or at another time, when they are not with us, but to no avail. We both can get very angry.
Unfortunately, she has realised that this is to her advantage and will go on until she gets what she wants. I have given way or shut up just to stop the argument in front of the kids on occasions. As human nature has it, she now realises that she can use the children to get her own way.
The solution to stop the arguments is long term, but, for now I need to stop the arguments in front of the children ASAP.
If anybody has developed a useful technique that you can share with me, I will be grateful.
 

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In the ugly days of our marriage when we were arguing a lot we had an agreed on symbol. "Slap the T" As in the technical foul symbol in basketball and call time out. It usually stopped us in our tracks to table it for a while until we could be away from the kids. It also gave us needed time to cool down and think about the situation. If you can both agree on a signal and what it means that would be a good start.
 

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Yes but for this you need the consent of both parties and my great difficulty is that my wife will not do it, so the problem here would be, then, how to make her listen to reason.
 

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Can you gain her agreement that constant arguing in front of the kids is not healthy for them?
 

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Honestly not sure how to stop the arguing because my husband and I do the same. But I stopped it by getting my daughter and leaving and if his truck is blocking me in and he wont move it I will say I am calling the police and having him arrested for attempting kidnap-- I found this out by the police bc of my neighbors. But eventually you have to do for the kids and get her to stop so take the kids for ice cream or something and if she calls repeatly just silence the phone- she will calm down sooner or later. Or you can call the police but before you do so make sure its not a law that if they come out one party has to go to jail and the police can warn her. Hope this helps any....
 

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Again, the problem is I cannot even win the argument about how we should not argue in front of the children so I am not getting very far. In the UK before you call the police you call Social Services so I may have to follow that route. I need them to tell my wife how serious it is to have loud rows in front of the children in such a way that it must be stopped before they are damaged emotionally.
 

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I think if you've tried everything, then its time to take that avenue of calling social services. It's detrimental to your children's well being and you know that. Good luck.
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I find myself in a very similar situation and have been for several years. Seems to be getting worse lately. fredmila, have you made any changes in your situation for better or worse that you could share?
 

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Things had gotten bad between us and we went back on our agreement of not arguing/fighting in front of the kids... my daughter (8) overheard a fight and asked a question upon which it sort of woke me up that things had gotten really bad. I shared with my husband her question. We made a new agreement that day to have discussions when they are in bed, in the garage. This also allows us to have cool down time if things get heated and have time to think about things before resuming our discussion. I would talk to your wife about this issue, during a time when you are not heated... and tell her how it concerns you, and ask for her to come up with a compromise. I like the other person's idea of a time out symbol with hands, where when one person sees that it is getting out of hand can stop the disagreement before it escalates. It is okay for children to see a healthy disagreement but not a bad fight/ cursing, etc. So you have to find the balance. And if I were you, I would not engage her at all, don't give in for the sake of stopping the argument. Tell her calmly, we will discuss this later, and walk away.
 

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The easiest way is to learn how to have regular discussions to take care of issues before they escalate, and to learn about verbal techniques that don't involve shouting and screaming or mean words. I did this and even though I have been in many situations in the past year including my exH and now former boyfriend who tried to provoke me, but not limited to them, I've managed to stay calm and be the better person and to avoid situations where things would escalate. In one instance, someone went for help, but in the time it took to arrive, I kept things under control...one way was my body position, I was unpacking things from my friend's hospital bag to his drawers at the rehab center he was transferred to...his sister was launching into me but I stayed down low. Funny thing is, the first time she laid into me and created a scene in the neuro icu, I did the same thing. I sat down on the floor and turned my back to her and let her go...until the nurses and the aid came running to haul her off to the social worker. Keeping your voice down and also your body position submissive negates the need for the angry person to escalate. If they do escalate, you can clearly state to them when and if there is a pause...I can't understand what you want. You need to slow down. SLOWING down is less confrontational than saying to stop shouting, or to calm down. Slowing down is completely neutral. Yet, this request invariably works. Have used it on my kids. Along with a submissive body position, works even better. You cannot even begin to think about getting one point across of your own until the angry person has been listened to completely and had each and every concern repeated back to them, until they are in agreement with what they said equalling what you heard. You can also take your time to think about it. Just say, that is a lot, let me write it down, let me think about it, please be patient. Ask them to get you some water. (Redirection. Carrying glass of water will help them get control of their physical self.)

I think you should be able to resolve differences in front of your kids, in a way that they can learn from, positively. Otherwise when they get older, they won't know how to resolve differences in a relationship, all they will learn is that tension is normal and that adults do their vicious fighting behind closed doors. Not all relationships have big fights. Some people do 'fight' fairly and evenly.

If you're not lucky enough to have had this modeled as a child, it's still something you can achieve for yourself, and break the cycle.

A marriage counselor trained in conflict resolution can help you assess the current state of conflict in your home and then to set reasonable goals for reducing it, along with teaching specific techniques for doing so.

You really need to understand how the adrenal system is highjacked during high stress. Then you can understand why reason is not going to be of any help for you initially in defusing the situation. You have to help the other person get control of their runaway impulses first. Then maybe there can be reason.

As a child, I had things thrown at me, casserole dishes, etc. My mother would go into a rage. I have become very good in my adulthood at detecting when people were close to approaching rage, and very good at avoiding injury and insult. You have to be willing to invest in the beginning of the conflict, investing means it will feel like you are submitting, even though you aren't.
 

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My wife and I have a hand signal as well(NO, it's not the middle finger). I would bring it up the next time you are both having a good day and she seems to be reasonible. You must both agree that it means TIME OUT because of the kids and do not abuse it.
 
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