How to embrace conflict in your family?

by Jack Smith

Conflict and family are two words that go together. If there are arguments in your family then you should not be concerned. Every family argues and fights and it is a perfectly normal aspect of life. However, it is how your family engages and deals with the conflict that deems whether it is healthy or not. It is important to engage in conflict in a healthy manner for the sake of your family and future relationships.

Families argue. Siblings will fight over anything they can whether it is who gets the remote or who gets to sit in the front of the car. Parents will argue with children too, whether it is how long a child is allowed to stay out or a parent forgetting to keep a promise. Spouses will argue too. While spouses chose to be with each other because they love each other, they can still fight a lot. Just because they love each other does not mean they agree on every aspect of life.

Yet it is how these conflicts take place that really matters. There is an old saying that couples who don’t fight are destined to fail. This is because conflict and conflict resolution can actually bring people closer together. If we use these situations as an opportunity to learn more about the other person, to provide more information about ourselves and to attack any problem as a team rather then on opposites sides, we can benefit. A couple who never fights is likely avoiding the issues that are existing in that relationship and while that can be sustained for a very long time, at some point it will come out like a volcanic eruption that was held back for too long. 

By dealing with conflict when it arises and not allowing it to turn into something greater, it can be quickly solved and moved on from with ease. There are some key tactics to use when in any conflict, especially when it is with someone you love.

First of all, try and see the situation from their point of view. You may know you are right but they don’t. That does not mean approaching them in a condescending manner but instead trying to understand how they took their view and working through it until you reach the same conclusion. You may learn that yes you were right but the way you were right always leaves them feeling insecure, perhaps you can adjust your approach in the future to consider them.

A team approach is the best way to resolve any conflict. When a conflict arises, try to avoid both being on opposite sides of the fence and throwing insults at each other. Instead, put the issue on the other side of the fence and attack it together. Leave no place for your ego and the need to win. There is no winning or losing when it comes to conflict resolution, there is simply defeating a problem. 

One of the key aspects is to avoid negative feelings. We all get annoyed from time to time but try to be annoyed with the situation, not the person. Talk openly to the person and explain why the thing is annoying you. However conflict is resolved, don’t carry negative feelings towards the person after.

Finally, it is very important to resolve conflict, not simply move on or pretend it is no longer an issue. Something as small as leaving the rubbish out could be a slight annoyance. If you ignore it and let it build it can be the nucleus for a massive argument. If you are open and resolve the conflict in the first moment, it will never have the power to lead to a fight. Take the negativity out of conflict and you can resolve it with love and happiness.

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