Witnessing family verbal fights is not so harmful for kids as we think, according to a new research. In fact they do more good by making the kids strong enough to cope with stress later in life.
Researchers Dr Lindsey Aloia and Denise Solomon from Rollins College and Pennsylvania State University followed 50 romantically involved couples and came to the conclusion that physiological stress response to conflict was stronger for kids who faced more intense conflict interaction between the couples.
The research, published in journal Human Communication Research, said witnessing conflict helps people get rid of tension and develop better communication skills.
Dr Aloia, who led the research, said, "Conflict experiences can be beneficial, by alleviating tension and avoiding conflict escalation, reducing communication apprehension, and contributing to closeness within the relationship."
As part of the experiment, the couples gave saliva samples to determine their baseline cortisol levels. They were then interviewed separately regarding the most stressful areas of conflict in their relationship. They then completed a questionnaire that gathered information regarding their childhood experiences with verbal aggression.
Later, parents were made to sit and discuss about an area of conflict. They were then separated and their saliva samples were collected.
Trained judges watched video recordings of the couples and saliva samples were used to calculate cortisol levels and evaluate experiences of stress.
But the study also said that those who experience higher levels of aggression during childhood had less severe response to the argument and had lower cortisol levels than those who had a relatively peaceful childhood.