Communication Tips for Couples with Kids

When you live with kids of any age, privacy can be a big issue. Anyone who has or had kids living at home can probably remember an occasion (or many) when lovemaking between you and your partner was interrupted or even seemed impossible to begin with.

What about when you and your love have an argument?

There are similar challenges.

Miscommunications, tension, conflict, and disagreements all require that you and your partner can focus on and really listen to one another. This can be difficult to do by itself and can be even more challenging when you have children.

Even teenagers, who often live quite independent lives, can barge in with a question just as you and your mate are about to dive into a touchy topic.

It actually is possible to enjoy healthy communication with your love even with a houseful of kids! You can give your children the time and attention they require and also care for your love relationship.

The first step is affirming to yourself that this is possible. Sometimes couples get into a mindset that the kids come first and their relationship (and themselves) will wait until the kids are older.

How long are you willing to wait for the closeness and connection you want with your partner right now?

Jo and Elliot have always loved kids and are well on their way to filling their house with them. They already have 4 children and just found out another is on the way.

As excited as both are about Jo’s pregnancy, tension between them is a regular occurrence that is rarely fully addressed. Elliot is very protective of the children and if one of them walks in while he and Jo are in conflict, he immediately stops talking, turns his attention to the child and ignores Jo.

This infuriates Jo who does not like to argue in front of the kids, but also dislikes feeling shut down. She would rather be more real about what’s going on.

Usually when the child leaves the room, Jo is in no mood to talk further about the original issue and storms out leaving Elliot frustrated and confused.

You may only have one child but the challenges are the same. How can a couple communicate about the tough stuff in their relationship when kids are around?

Tip #1) Do be honest.

As much as you would like to shield your children from tension and conflict, you really can’t. You can pretend all you like that nothing is amiss between you and your partner, but almost every child at just about any age will sense what’s really going on.

Even if he or she is seemingly immersed in the most engaging game on the Nintendo DS, your child will have an idea that things between you and your mate are not quite right.

In fact, it may be more confusing to your child if you reassure him or her that everything is fine.

When Elliot abruptly breaks off heated discussions with Jo as their 5 year old son walks into the kitchen, the child is immediately alerted.

After all, mom and dad usually don’t stop talking when he enters a room. The forced smile on his dad’s face doesn’t allay his concerns either.

Instead, what would happen if Elliot and Jo explained to their son that they that they are in the middle of a serious talk about the two of them? They can help him get a glass of water and then they’d like some privacy to finish talking.

You don’t have to go into the details of the situation to be honest. Of course, their son may still feel worried, but at least he has a clearer picture of what’s going on and that it is not about him.

Tip #2) Do talk it out privately.

The flip side of shielding your children from tensions is to let it all out no matter who’s around. Like the proverbial volcano, anger that’s been suppressed is going to blow at some point.

When the meltdown of suppressed emotions occurs, it’s hard not to spew it all over anyone in the room with you. Of course, this can be quite scary for a child—or an adult!

This is why being honest about what’s going on is so important. You might feel enraged with your mate, but if the kids are around, take some deep breaths and explain to them that you two have had a disagreement and need space to work it out.

Kids are human too and probably understand what it feels like to be mad. Let them know that this is about the two of you and that you are not angry with them.

As you are honest with your children and make space to work out tensions privately, your kids can learn valuable lessons about how to effectively handle conflict.

You also affirm to your kids, your mate and yourself that your love relationship is important and deserves the time and attention. This can help keep you two connected and close.

For more information on how to communicate with more ease and connection, visit

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