Every family will experience conflict from time to time. Though you want to encourage peace within the household, disagreements will happen sometimes.
Instead of trying to avoid conflict altogether, you can focus your energy on finding methods to resolve it. Your kids will look up to you for guidance, so don’t just brush their issues under the rug. Kids deserve to have their voices heard, and they shouldn’t feel belittled when they’re upset about something.
So, let’s say your family is going through a conflict — what are some productive ways to resolve it?
1. Encourage Open Communication
The best way to resolve conflict is to lay it all on the table. Please encourage your children to express why they’re upset. Let everyone have a chance to speak, and do your best to keep things as civil as possible.
When you teach your children how to express themselves in a calm, mature way, you’re instilling a lifelong quality that will help them when they’re older, too. Also, kids need to understand when it’s their turn to talk and when they need to listen to others.
By fostering openness and communication, your family can more quickly come to a resolution together.
2. Hear Everyone Out Equally
We’re sometimes guilty of taking sides in arguments or not hearing everyone out equally. However, it would help if you prioritized listening to everyone’s side of the story.
When someone feels overlooked in an argument, there might never be a real resolution. Instead, this person will continue to feel angry and ignored. For the sake of fairness and to make everyone feel equal in the family, hear everyone out while you’re resolving the conflict.
3. Don’t Force a Resolution
When it comes to family conflict, you cannot force a resolution. You may become tired of fighting, but by sweeping everything under the rug, you’re only making tensions worse in the long-run. Resolving conflict takes time, and it may become tedious. However, by taking the time to resolve the issue correctly, you’re ensuring that it won’t become an even bigger one down the road.
4. Give Everyone Time to Cool Down
Sometimes the best thing you can do for conflict resolution is to allow people to reflect individually. If tensions are high, don’t force your kids to keep fighting. Give them a break, let them cool off, and come back to the issue later. Don’t let the matter go altogether — but give everyone enough time to relax and reflect alone.
5. Figure Out the Deeper Cause of the Conflict
When conflict arises in a family, there’s often a deeper reason for anger. Instead of brushing off petty strife, try to find the root cause of the issue. If your child is mad about something, genuinely hear them out.
Kids are still developing emotionally, and you must teach them early on that they shouldn’t bottle up their emotions. When you encourage them to get to the root of the problem, you’re helping them establish problem-solving skills that will be useful for life.
6. Consider Family Therapy
Families are going to experience conflict. Sometimes, you may be able to resolve your family’s issues on your own. However, the best thing you can do for your family may be to get everyone involved in family counseling.
Specific families, especially blended ones or large ones, will naturally experience more conflict than others. Counseling can help your family work through conflict and find effective ways to move forward.
As weeks of therapy go by, you may find that your family is communicating more openly than ever before — which will be a huge relief moving forward.
Instead of avoiding conflict in your family, learn how to tackle it head-on. Resolving conflict doesn’t have to be a messy, drawn-out process. With the right mindset, and possibly with the help of therapy, your family can work together to resolve conflict and become a strong, happy unit.
For help with conflict resolution in your family, please contact my office for a free consult.