How to Deal with Family Conflict
No matter how loving, every family has its fair share of ups and downs. However, when we cannot resolve such conflicts effectively, it can lead to resentment and broken family bonds. Here are valuable guidelines on how to deal with family conflicts:
1. Identify the source of the problem.
Learning to identify the causes of family conflicts is the first step to finding a solution. Some of the most common issues in a household include:
- Family business;
- Issues with in-laws;
- Conflicts during family events;
- Sibling conflict;
- School issues;
- Marital issues;
- Moving to a new location, etc.
Once you can identify the problem, consider looking at the context from a different point of view. For example, a person may be okay with moving to another location, but it would be an issue for another family member.
2. Encourage parties to keep calm.
People in conflicts can react in very emotional ways. Anger, resentment, and sadness can result from miscommunication, accusations, and the refusal to listen to the other person. To avoid escalating things, encourage everyone to keep calm and allow them space to speak their part of the conflict.
3. Offer to listen.
During this phase, avoid assuming the person’s thoughts and feelings. Allow each person to speak and explain why the problem bothers them. Avoid using an accusatory tone and ask questions to get them to explain their side more. When it’s your turn to communicate, select your words carefully and honestly state your story.
4. Offer negotiating techniques.
Many arguing people often want to “win” during an argument at any cost. The hardest part is fighting this instinct and looking for a peaceful solution. Nevertheless, no matter how difficult it is, it helps calm down before offering solutions.
Once everyone has calmed down, it helps to offer a few solutions. However, when proposing solutions, remember to do the following:
- Keep calm at all costs;
- Find points of agreement from the conflicting parties;
- Talk clearly and reasonably;
- Define the problem and stick to the topic;
- Separate the problem from the person;
- Offer possible solutions that benefit all parties
Conflicts are inevitable in any relationship. However, learning how to resolve them without hurting the other person is a skill that requires patience. Additionally, seeking counseling from a licensed therapist can offer insight on how to resolve family conflict.