Guest blogger Jessica Katz: Whenever my daughter finally goes to sleep, I, too, am exhausted. I often find myself in bed watching whatever's on E! -- and more often than not, it involves a show about the Kardashians. As I have been watching the war between Kourtney Kardashian and her boyfriend, Scott Disick, evolve, I can't help but wonder how it's affecting their baby, Mason.
Children pick up on everything. They're sponges: They absorb everything around them. That is their only barometer, and they are highly sensitive. They sense tension and conflict and know it's there, whether it be emotional or verbal. When parents argue in front of their child, it causes the child to become emotionally engaged in the argument -- whether they like it or not. Even the silent treatment can be harmful to a child's emotional security, because the parental relationship is the center of a child's emotional well-being.
When babies (or any people, actually) are in stressful situations, they release the stress
hormone cortisol -- and lots of it. According to experts, high levels of cortisol are toxic to the brain.
So, per the research, baby Mason might suffer long-term effects from witnessing his parents' arguments. Elevated cortisol levels can also cause sleeplessness at night, sleeping during the day, nervousness and tension. So while Kourtney and Scott's fights and tears may be good for ratings and tabloid fodder, it is truly harming their baby. Shouldn't parents' first priority be their child -- not their TV status?
The saying goes that a happy wife is a happy life, but what it really comes down to is making a happy marriage a priority so you have healthy children. My husband and I try never to fight in front of our daughter. If we notice that our conversation is escalating, we take a time-out. When we reengage later, we have calmed down -- and we actually have an easier time resolving the issue.