Why Do Parents Fight?

No matter how much two people love each other, there will come a time when they disagree about something and the disagreement escalates into a fight. The fallout after the fight might be limited to giving each other the silent treatment, or it may elevate into a loud screaming match. There are complicated reasons that answer the question of why do parents fight?

The little things

Most parents don't fight over big things. The little things, on the other hand, are often stumbling blocks. Their child's fashion sense, the choice and amount of toys purchased and how healthy their child's diet should be can all cause potential disagreements between parents.

Money matters

Money issues are at the top of the list of why parents fight. Sometimes it doesn't matter how much money a family has, spending habits often infuriate one parent or the other. Using credit cards irresponsibly and incurring debt creates a dangerous situation ripe for conflict. Proper budgeting and sticking to a budget often eliminates many unnecessary arguments about money matters.


Another reason that parents pick a fight with each other is to blow off steam after one of the following situations:

  • Work stress. People cannot back talk their boss or lash out at colleagues. Instead of calmly discussing the issue with their spouse, the stressed-out parent can say one wrong word and set off an argument.
  • Traffic commute. The drive on the way home might have been hectic. Being stuck in a traffic jam or getting a speeding ticket can cause unresolved frustration and anger that overflows into being in a bad mood at home.
  • Poor time management. Many people are habitual procrastinators or constantly forget commitments. When faced with a sudden deadline that's caused by poor time management, even minor irritations can fray nerves and lead to a fight.

Parenting styles

How one parent was raised might conflict with the upbringing of the other. Bedtimes, TV watching, the use of electronics, education and dating might bring about different parental opinions. Children quickly learn how to manipulate parents who constantly disagree, causing even more fights. Any difference in parenting styles can be avoided when parents present a united front.

See the bigger picture

What's best for the child trumps being right or wrong. Parents shouldn't feel that every decision has to be made instantly. It's always wise to step back, consider the issue from your partner's perspective and reevaluate accordingly. In the heat of the moment, common sense often goes out the window.

Fight in private

Fighting in front of children sets a bad example because children learn many of their social skills from their parents. They might not only think that shouting is acceptable behavior, but also hear and repeat words that are not socially acceptable. Children experience stress when they witness their parents fighting, especially if they don't understand what's actually going on. They might worry about divorce, which forces one parent or the other to leave them.

Taking sides

A mild argument can escalate into a full-blown fight if a child takes one parent's side or feels forced to do so. What started out as a disagreement between two people suddenly turns into a family fight unless parents work together to control the situation.

Although an occasional fight clears the air and can even be beneficial to a relationship, if fighting becomes a regular occurrence, it might be a good idea to seek professional help.

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