Soul crushing, disheartening, and scary.
All of these feelings can come with family feuds. Unfortunately, family fights are inevitable. However, you don’t have to let them ruin your relationships.
Are you getting into it with your loved ones lately? Then it’s time to make up with the people who matter most in your life. Let us help you do it right this time around. This article will offer the best tips for resolving a family fight before it becomes difficult to undo the damage.
Read on to learn how to resolve family conflict, the right way.
1. Identify Source of Conflict
First, identify the source of your family argument. The reason behind the fuss might be due to a misunderstanding. On the other hand, it could be more serious than either party initially thought. If you are not sure about what led to a conflict, then ask yourself a few key questions.
What is bothering one or both parties? Who started this fight? Why did it begin? Are there underlying problems brewing that caused this fight?
Pay attention to words and actions towards each other. If you can’t identify what the source is then sit down and talk to each other calmly. Ask everyone involved about what’s bothering them. Sometimes, it’s not always about something that happened in the past; maybe it stems from an upcoming family event or even a recent argument between parent and child. Get to the bottom of this issue before moving forward.
Common Sources Of Family Conflict
What are some of the common sources for family conflicts?
Lack of communication. You may be trying to hide or avoid things, thus making it difficult for your family to understand you and what’s on your mind.
Day-to-day issues. These can include chores, getting ready for work on time, or just living life in general! For instance, you could find yourselves arguing over the right amount of TV for your kids to watch, along with other screen time concerns.
Extended absence from home. Traveling for work or school means being away from loved ones longer than normal and the stress that comes with this sometimes causes conflict. Sometimes seeing old friends again after attending different schools can also cause tension amongst siblings and parents. Why? Because each individual is at different phases in their lives now.
2. Empathize During Family Conflict Resolution
Next, learning how to resolve family conflict, means learning how to empathize with the other person’s feelings. When you’re fighting, it’s easy to get caught up in your own point of view. Emotions push you towards arguing your point, and it becomes difficult to consider other angles.
However, the moment you’re willing to start empathizing with the other person’s feelings, you’ll be able to look at the problem in a new way. Empathizing is all about seeing the problem through the other person’s eyes.
The key is to remember that everyone thinks differently, feels differently, and reacts to things in a different way than you do. Think about how people react in situations before criticizing them; when you can empathize more with your loved ones, it makes communication much easier!
Notice the 4 Dangerous Emotions
What are the 4 emotions and ways of being that can indicate that a relationship is heading for a breakup? They are contempt, resentment, criticism, and stonewalling (silent treatment). Defensiveness is a close runner-up for the fourth place since it also steals away from the relationship.
3. Take a Cool Off Break
Let’s say you’ve empathized with their feelings, but you’re still feeling angry. What should you do now? Should you keep arguing your point, or attempt to calmly discuss it? Nope.
Instead, now would be the perfect time to take a cool-off break. A break allows you to step away from emotions for a bit so that you can think more clearly. This gives you the chance to figure out what’s bothering you and how you can best express your thoughts. It’s also a good time to really examine why the other person is upset
Are they simply angry, or are they trying to communicate something deeper? A cool-off break allows you time to reassess the situation. It can also give you a fresh set of eyes and allow you to come up with ideas on how to resolve the situation.
Healthy Things to Do When Upset
To get the best results out of your cool off, you’ll want to focus on healthy activities. For instance, you can focus on things like exercise. Get your blood flowing, and work off some of that stress. Journaling is another great option. Journaling can be an outlet for your emotions and frustrations, as well as a productive way to work on a solution if you’re careful about it.
You can even doodle, and the added benefit of this is that sometimes doodling helps us figure out what we’re really upset about. For more ideas, check out Our Family Counselling page. Attending family counseling can be a great way to lay the foundation for healthy arguments moving forward.
4. Listen Without Interrupting
Next, on our list of coping skills for family conflict, let’s talk about active listening. Are you guilty of interrupting others during an argument? It’s an easy offense to commit. At the moment it feels impossible to be quiet, especially when you’re angry. However, interrupting the other person can have serious consequences. You could cause the other family members to feel as if their words don’t have value.
Your interruption signifies that you believe your words are the most valuable. If the other family members feel unvalued and unheard, they could shut down altogether. To avoid group apathy, you have to promote healthy engagement during the argument. This can be done by actively listening to what the other person has to say. Even if they are saying something that doesn’t make any sense, let them speak their mind.
Tips for Listening Better
While you’re actively listening to your loved ones, there are some things you can do to make the experience better for them. Make sure that you don’t say, “I understand how you feel,” or “You’re right.”
You need to show them that you are listening by repeating back what you heard them say, and then inviting the other person to elaborate. Keeping your mouth closed during this conversation can make it easier for everyone involved!
5. Support Eachother Without Fixing Eachother
Moving on, let’s talk about the difference between supporting each other and fixing each other. During an argument, it’s easy to fall into the trap of trying to fix things. You see your world falling apart around you, and it’s natural to want to take action.
However, an argument is a time to listen and support, not act. During the argument, you’ll be navigating the boundaries of each relationship. Instead of storming out in anger, or giving somebody the silent treatment, let yourself be vulnerable.
Get to the core of the conflict, and let the other person know that you’ve heard them out. It’s also important that your voice is heard for the resolution to be complete.
Ways to Show Support
How can you show your family members that you’re all about supporting them, and not fixing them? In addition to listening actively, you can make a promise about something you’re going to do to change. Rather than focusing on how somebody else needs to change or fix their behavior, take responsibility for your own.
For instance, if your partner feels that you’re not spending enough time together, plan an outing. The moment you have the outing on your calendar, you’ll be showing them you support their point of view. Over time, as you enjoy more and more outings together, you’ll be taking action to fix the problem.
6. Eliminate Name Calling
Last but not least, let’s talk about name-calling. Kids, teenagers, and even adults can resort to name-calling during an argument. However, this is a really unproductive and unhealthy way to execute an argument. Name-calling will only serve to make you feel bad while driving the other person away.
Examples of name-calling include words like stupid, idiot, loser, or moron. These are just a few examples, but the point is that they serve no purpose. In fact, they make the situation worse by creating a barrier to healthy communication.
If you’ve ever been called a name, you know how hurtful it can be. Before you know it, you can start creating an identity around the name. Thinking things like, “Of course I failed, I’m a big moron!”, and other unhealthy thoughts. Instead, we should aim to build our family members up with empowering names.
How to Stop Verbal Assaults
If you notice you, or a family member is a name-calling, do something about it right away. In a firm, but loving approach, remind your family members that name-calling isn’t allowed. However, don’t lecture the family member.
In the heat of the moment, it’s possible that they forgot to avoid name-calling. Even if the verbal attack was intentional, lecturing somebody about it can cause you to go off on a powertrip. Instead, reset the boundaries for the argument by firmly stating that name-calling isn’t allowed. If it persists, it’s time to take a cool-off period.
Know-How to Resolve Family Conflict
Family fights aren’t easy, but they don’t have to be damaging. You and your family can find a resolution when you respect each other as individuals who want the best for one another. Now that you know more about how to resolve family conflicts, it’s time to take action.
Did you get in a fight with loved ones today? The last thing you should do is try to force an argument because this will only make matters worse. Take a cool-off period today if need be, and return home ready to resolve things fully. For more tips, read another article.