When my wife and I were dating, we agreed on most things. That changed when we got married and the kids arrived. Suddenly, our formerly orderly lives became a whole lot more chaotic.
Anyone who has raised a family will tell you that it’s impossible to do so without some sort of conflict cropping up.
In our case, we had disagreements while learning to live together and after adopting our son who has an attachment disorder.
Adjusting to our new roles was difficult and this manifested itself in increased arguments.
There were also conflicts whenever changes happened in the family for instance when we moved to a new house or when the kids changed schools.
Friction between the kids is also something we learned to anticipate and deal with.
If you have a family a lot of your time would be spent wondering how to effectively resolve family conflicts.
Managing family conflicts or finding positive strategies for dealing with conflicts can be made easier if you just follow certain simple steps.
Here are some aspects and strategies for resolving family conflicts.
Chaos Can Be a Good Thing
What most parents fail to realize is that positive family conflicts or healthy conflict is actually a good thing.
These bumps in the road can highlight areas that you need to work on and improve as individuals or together as a family. Here are other reasons why healthy conflict can be beneficial to a family:
- It can help you learn about each other as you get to know other family members’ preferences, boundaries, etc.
- It gives you insight into your own personal issues and triggers.
- You learn to appreciate your differences.
- It gives you the opportunity to learn and also teach your children healthy conflict resolution skills.
- It brings problems to light, giving you a chance to resolve them instead of denying their existence.
Handled properly, the chaos that arises from conflict can lead to improved communication between parents and kids.
It can also bring the whole family together as you learn to listen to, support and validate each other.
Bringing the Chaos Under Control
While the healthy conflict has its benefits, managing family conflicts can be stressful and damaging to a relationship, especially if the underlying issues remain unresolved.
So how do you go about managing family conflicts in a healthy way?
By listening to each other.
Becoming a good listener requires plenty of practice. However, it is a key skill to have when it comes to conflict resolution because it helps clear up misunderstandings and also makes your partner or kid feel respected.
When listening, ensure that you are completely focused on the other person. Put away your phone, give them your full attention and don’t interrupt them while they are speaking. You can also ask relevant questions to help clear things up.
Being willing to compromise.
Learning to compromise is another valuable skill when dealing with conflict. After all, you can’t always be right and your spouse and kids aren’t obliged to always agree with you. They have their own thoughts and ideas so you should seek a middle ground whenever conflicts arise.
Start by identifying the source of conflict, then come up with as many possible solutions as you can. Then finally choose one that works best for all of you. Once a solution is found, stick to it.
Apologizing and owning your mistakes.
Accepting when you’re wrong and apologizing for your mistakes is another way to make conflict healthy. It also shows that you can set aside your pride and accept correction.
While it’s not easy to do, apologizing communicates that you value your relationship over your ego and that you’re willing to make amends. It also sets a great example for your kids to emulate.
Contrary to what most believe, occasional conflict and chaos in the family doesn’t mean that you’re unhappy. On the other hand, you shouldn’t ignore any issues that conflicts bring up.
We should strive for conflict resolution over conflict avoidance in order to build happy, healthy families.