Parents' Fighting May Have Long-Lasting Effect on Kids

But if conflict is handled constructively, children's sense of security stays intact, research suggests

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However, the researchers didn't take into account that kids with mental health or behavioral issues might also take a toll on the marriage. In addition, 36 of the couples divorced during the course of the study. Researchers didn't account for the impact that might have on children. Divorce means a change in family structure, along with relocation and a loss in family income, that is very disruptive to children.

"Although it's not surprising that marital stress is associated with later emotional and behavioral difficulties in children in adolescence, the study fails to adequately control for important possible other plausible explanations or contributing factors," Adesman said.

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The Nemours Foundation has tips to help children cope with parents fighting.

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