Relationship Problems Affect Your Kids, Too

September 26, 2011 by

Our relationship problems can have a big impact on our children, whether we realize it or not. When we’re under stress of any kind – emotional, financial, or otherwise – it puts our kids under stress, too.

In David Code’s new book “Kids Pick Up on Everything: How Parental Stress Is Toxic to Kids,” he discusses how kids “catch” their parents’ stress. It’s almost like a virus that can overload their nervous systems, causing them to act out or develop symptoms. It is a major risk factor in allergies, obesity, ADHD, asthma, and sensory disorders. And get this: it can actually alter their genes. There are “on-off switches” on our genes, called epigenome. Stress hormones can sometimes cause good genes to switch off or bad ones to switch on.

Before you get even more stressed out, know this: the damage can be reversed. When you relax, your children will display fewer symptoms. It’s a diagnosis for all parents to have fun and socialize more, and also to work on the health of their relationships.

Work Through Relationship Problems, Don’t Hide Them

If your relationship is a major stressor in your life, your children have front row seats to the frustration, anxiety, anger, and tension you experience. Some couples believe their children aren’t aware of their problems. Maybe you keep your arguments behind closed doors, or hide the fact that one of you slept on the couch last night. But the truth is kids are often smarter than we give them credit for. They will pick up on it.

What better reason do we have to work on relationship problems than to improve the health of our children? Improving your communication skills, re-connecting with one another, and enjoying each other’s company again can help your whole family to be happier, healthier, and more relaxed. Come to our offices to learn new relationship skills from an experienced Portland marriage counselor.