This is a Premium feature
To use this feature subscribe to Mumsnet Premium - get first access to new features see fewer ads, and support Mumsnet.Start using Mumsnet Premium
Arguing Parents and the Subconscious Effect on Children(1 Post)
Arguing Parents and the Subconscious Effect on Children
An unborn child, from around 18 weeks after conception, begins to gather information from what is happening in the outside world; sounds can be heard, emotions can be sensed, and physical tension felt.
Obviously, an unborn child doesn’t know what is happening, but they begin to form associations e.g. loud voices together with sudden muscular tension followed by crying etc is a bad thing.
Once born and that child begins to learn language, the memories from inside the womb begin to be interpreted by that child. Some of these interpretations can be quite negative and then lead a child into coming up with strategies to keep ‘safe’ or ‘out of trouble’.
In my hypnotherapy clinic in London, it is not uncommon for clients with a fear of rejection, abandonment or loneliness to remember, whilst in hypnosis, events that took place whilst in the womb.
It is also not unusual for the child to ‘blame’ themselves for the confrontation, especially if the arguments centre around them or shortage of money for example. Whilst in hypnosis, clients sometimes remember as a child thinking that if they weren’t here then this argument wouldn’t be taking place.
I cannot emphasise enough the importance of not arguing in front of children, either in the womb or born.
‘We only argue in private’ or ‘we wait until the kids are asleep’ doesn’t work. Even when children are asleep, their subconscious minds are taking in the sounds and remembering them.
Silent arguments or tension between couples is easily picked up by a young child. Remember, they knew about your happy, sad and angry voices before they were even born!
Conflict and confrontation over a period of time can lead to issues for that child in later years. Perfectionism, fear of failure, fear of letting others down, anxiety, stress and depression can sometimes be traced back to the witnessing of parental confrontation.
In some cases, it can lead to relationship and trust issues. By learning from such an early age how couples are ‘supposed’ to interact, this can cause a person to be fearful of entering (or pursuing) a relationship that may lead to long term commitment e.g. marriage…a recent client kept herself obese to avoid attracting men for fear of a relationship developing.
Quite often the ‘Nature versus Nurture’ argument pops up here…I disagree with the genetic theory…a child who witnesses confrontation and aggression learns from this and they either replicate parental behavior or do exactly the opposite when they have children themselves.
So what is the answer? In every relationship there will be different attitudes and opinions which may lead to disagreements.
Where possible, parents should communicate to a child what the disagreement was about and then explain the process by which agreement was reached. I know this sounds too much for a young child but remember they are taking it all in and will revisit the memories later in life.
I remember a situation with my own daughter when she was about three years old. My wife and I were watching the TV news and had opposing views about a current topic. As we began to debate the subject my daughter burst into tears and asked why we were arguing! A valid question that we fully answered to her satisfaction.
So please be careful…embrace harmony…to help your children…and your children’s children!