Parents, if you argue with your partner every day, you’re hurting your kids in 3 distinctly different ways: 

  • First: Chronic arguing affects how children handle stress. A study in the journal Child Development shows that when parents argue several times a week, their kids experience permanent changes in their nervous systems. To put it simply, those kids begin to react to everyday events as if they’re life-and-death situations. And that leads to higher baseline anxiety levels and more trouble sleeping. In fact, child psychologists say that chronic family fighting is just as damaging to kids as physical abuse. 

  • And: Those high stress levels lead to lower grades. A study by the National Institutes of Health found that grade schoolers who lived in high-conflict homes had less ability in reasoning and problem-solving than kids from more stable families.  

  • Finally: Fighting parents produce troubled teens. Cambridge University researchers found that a tense household environment is linked with teenage depression and an increased risk of substance abuse. That’s because chronic exposure to negativity and aggression decreases emotional resiliency making it more likely for young people to turn to alcohol and drugs as a way to cope.