Family conflicts come in plenty of different types. Some are manageable while others are virtually nuclear in how they play out. Usually the people involved all believe themselves to be in the right and their opposition to be wrong. These conflicts can cause a lot of difficulties for all involved.
Firstly there’s the stress of an ongoing situation, which can affect your health. This isn’t limited to the people arguing either, even family members who are trying to stay out of it will be stressed by the situation. Children who are shielded from details will even pick up on signs and can display stress symptoms at school and home. Then there’s potential financial and lifestyle instability caused by the conflict or potential solutions. Now let’s be honest, when we put our anger aside most of us don’t really wish harm and ill health on our family members. We might want to remove them from our lives and leave them to their own, but it’s only a minority that wishes harm on the other side of the argument.
With all of this in mind we’re going to look at 8 keys you can use to successfully resolve your own family conflicts.
- Don’t Argue
Remember there is a difference between an argument and a discussion. One of the fastest ways for things to get out of hand is to start raising voices and create a shouting match. Then emotions get involved, people start bringing in irrelevant topics, and you end up with an aggressive argument that isn’t going to go anywhere. The way to deal with conflict is to stay calm and keep it as a discussion. There’s less emotion and both sides are more thoughtful this way, so a problem can be more easily solved.
- Remember the Problem is the Real Enemy
Often people get stuck in this mindset of “me vs you” where they don’t want to lose the argument. Remember though that the issue is the problem, the conflict which needs a resolution, not the person you are disagreeing with. It’s never “you vs them”, it’s always “you & them vs the problem”, so if both sides can come to a solution, you both win!
- Deal With the Issue, Not the Person
Sometimes we harbor resentment, suspicion or dislike of a person for various reasons. These reasons might be totally valid as well – perhaps the other person has wronged you several times in the past. Just like in court though, past grievances have no place when dealing with the current issue.
- Discuss Problems Openly
Be clear and open with your feelings and opinions on the problem, and be willing to discuss all aspects – this is important if you want a real solution!
- Use Mediation if Necessary
Sometimes the situation is just too heated and the arguing won’t stop. In these cases it’s best to use a mediator if you want any actual dispute resolution to take place.
- Face the Awkward Questions
Sometimes the issue that needs solving can have a few sensitive areas or details, which some might not want mentioned. You’re going to have to get over this and face it though, only when all details are clear and on the table can a solution be reached.
- Use ‘I’ Statements
It’s an obvious one and mentioned a lot but it’s worth mentioning again. Stick to talking about your feelings and opinions, when the word ‘you’ is used it can come across as an accusation or an assumption of somebody’s feelings/intentions, when it really isn’t that way.
- Stick to the Topic at Hand
Each problem has its own resolution. You can’t tie one problem to another and attempt to solve them at the same time. Deal with each one individually and stick to the relevant points for that situation only. Once this is fixed, you can move on to the next conflict and repeat the process.