Emotional Effects Essay

967 words - 4 pages

Emotional Effects
One of the negative emotional outcomes experienced by children and youth exposed to parental conflict is the emotion of sadness. A number of studies have suggested that background anger, which is just a term used to describe anger between adults, furthers negative feelings in children. Children may cry, be very upset and may sit still for a long period of time, as indicated by research showing that in response to background anger “the following overt motor responses may occur: crying, freezing, facial distress”(Cummings and Davies,1994). This also called the concerned pattern, the most common, adaptive method of the three basic ways children cope with background ...view middle of the document...

Once reaching a certain point it can be an issue that can take over someone’s life. Another important point is that the consequences for children who are exposed to situations of high conflict may not be detected right away. The experiences children go through during childhood build “the brain and brain’s reactivity of the stress system “and the damaging effects of this may not be seen until a lot later in life says Dr. Jean Clinton. Without intervention this can lead to problems later in life, ranging anywhere from depression and anxiety, to heart disease (Gordon). A child’s sensitivity to angry adult behaviour begins as early as the first year of life and continues all the way through to adolescence. This idea is supported by the behavioural reactions of children along with their self-report. (Cummings & Davies, 1994). Explanations of the reason for conflict and blaming the other parent for the conflict can make things worse for children rather than better. This can increase anxiety and distress in children. (Cummings & Davies, 1994).
A third emotion that is likely to affect children whose parents are having problems is the feeling of guilt. When their parents are not getting along children often blame themselves. They may feel the pressure of making things in the family okay again and often have thoughts such as, “If I had been better, this wouldn’t have happened.”(Firestone).Children may sense the negativity between their parents and then feel this negativity within themselves. There is a lot of shame and guilt that comes with these thoughts (Fanselow-Brown). When children feel they are the ones responsible for reducing interparental and family discord, they may be especially likely to blame themselves for when the conflict intensifies. This increases their feelings of guilt, shamelessness, hopelessness and poor self-worth. (Cummings & Davies, 1994) This is especially bad because now each time the conflict...

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