Though in the first months of life, babies seem to be functioning as per their own rhythms, seemingly oblivious to what goes on around them, they can absorb an amazing amount of information from around them.
In fact recent research has shown that if there is discord in the house, this can negatively affect a baby as young as 9 months of age. The study found that 9 month old kids had troubled sleep as a result of parents arguing regularly and the sleep problem could persist even when the babies turned into 18 month olds.
The study’s co-author Gordon Harold, from the University of Leicester, U.K., is of the view that sleep should be properly regulated during infancy because it is very important for proper development of a baby’s body and brain.
If proper sleep is not available to babies, this could impact development in the longer term.
So the results of this study point to the fact, that parents should be able to manage and resolve conflicts in their lives not just for their own sake but also for the sake of the wellbeing of their kids.
When faced with a child who is having trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep, couples may often think that this is the cause of marital discord.
However it is important to find out whether it is baby’s sleep that is the cause of the discord or the other way around; that it is the parental arguing and fighting that is causing the sleep problems for baby in the first place.
It is important to understand that some amount of argument in any family is normal and isn’t going to have negative repercussions for a baby. However when the hostility and antipathy of a couple towards each other is palpable and is consistent over an extended period of time, this is bound to communicate itself to a child to witnesses the hostility who may well be traumatized by this.
Many parents do not realize that even if there is no overt display of hostility between two people, the fact that they are having problems may manifest in other ways – there are bound to be feelings of insecurity, anger, tiredness brought about by disturbed sleep that may communicate themselves. Emotional withdrawal, even unconscious and unintended may make itself felt.
Clearly then there is the need for parental harmony in a family because this is good for babies and so if issues do come up, they should be resolved not only in the interests of the happiness and well-being of the parents, but of the baby as well.