Topic Progress:

As you are probably well aware, parents who experience couple conflict within their relationship go through a myriad of negative emotions, sometimes on a daily basis. These emotions often stem from negative encounters that you have with your partner, but may also come up as a result of negative thoughts that you have about your partner. Negative emotions can color the way that you parent. Examples of common emotions that you may feel when dealing with couple conflict and parenting include:

  • anger
  • anxiety
  • contempt
  • impatience
  • sadness or depression
  • guilt
  • worry
  • out of control
  • detachment or numbness
  • exhaustion
  • fear
  • overwhelmed
  • distrust

Negative emotions are a natural part of the everyday experience. We should not try and avoid it but there are healthy ways to deal with negative emotions, including during times of couple conflict and difficult parenting. Negative emotions are an inevitable part of family life when dealing with couple conflict and parenting. Your ability to regulate your negative emotions will go a long way in protecting your children from the negative impact of your couple conflict. Ways to do this include:

  • Soothing and calming yourself during heated moments (e.g., engaging positive or calming self-talk)
  • Taking a time-out during heated moments
  • Engaging deep breathing and slowing down discussions that are happening too rapidly or appear to be at risk for escalation
  • Paying attention to the thoughts running through your head and attempting to challenge the negative or unproductive ones

In the next section, we look at unhealthy and problematic thoughts related to couple conflict and parenting.