It’s fine to argue in front of your kid. In fact, it can be a hugely beneficial thing for them. When children see parents argue, it shows them that solutions to adversity can be found and gives them a road map to conflict-resolution. Of course, there are rules to child-visible arguing and there are some arguments that are going to be bad for your kids to see at all. Whether or not President Donald Trump should be impeached is one such argument.
Sure, this is something everyone is currently talking about, and many households are in agreement, either for or against the impeachment of the President. When that’s the case, arguing over the minutiae is fine for kids to witness. They see that you’re on the same team, quibbling over facts, and resolving issues together. But when parents or family members fundamentally disagree on impeachment, the argument becomes destabilizing and frightening for kids. It’s far better to keep such political fights private.
For starters, fights over the core of the impeachment proceedings leave too much to passionate interpretation. Did the president ask for quid pro quo? Did it sound like he did? Is the whistleblower letter worth the weight of its words or is there some vast conspiracy to take the commander-in-chief down? These are not questions that can be resolved during a single argument, so a child will only witness the clash of intractable political passions. At that point, you might as well plop your kid in front of cable news and walk away.
The impeachment argument is also not one that a couple can resolve in an argument. There’s simply no room for a resolution, and that’s a problem. Resolutions are key to showing a child that when differences occur, people can disagree and still communicate their way to some kind of positive agreement. And when there’s no chance of resolution, the argument is ripe for ugly attacks.
In other words, there’ll be plenty of “How could you …” or, even worse, “You’re crazy if you think …“ statements. Not only does that language not help parents come to terms with their differences, it models to children that a difference of opinion automatically leads to personal attacks. Good arguments between parents, on the other hand, include a lot of ownership of feelings — those “I feel when … “ statements that counselors love to push. Given the passions involved in the issue of impeachment, the only thing family members are likely to feel, in the heat of the moment, is that “you’re an idiot for thinking that.”
That heated language, paired with the nature of an argument circling around the very stability of the American government will lead kids to feel scared and unsupported. After all, they likely have a very simplistic and paternalistic understanding of the federal government. When parents talk about whether or not the president should be removed from office, all a child hears is that the person leading the country might be at risk. The natural question is: What happens next? Does the country fall apart? If parents are so worked up, then what’s keeping chaos from the door?
As adults, we know that the answer to that question is “LOL, not much, kid!” But your child does not need to know that. The better option is to maintain the status quo in the house. If a kid is curious about the impeachment, then you can always tell them that the founding fathers put a process in place and that the process is working. Simple enough. Faith in government is maintained.
Look, kids will figure out that American politics is a shit show soon enough. But right now, they need to know their world is stable and safe. So keep the impeachment talk in the bedroom after the children are asleep and use it as an excuse for make-up sex. After all, something good should come out of all the awfulness.