The thought of addressing and navigating family conflict can ignite anxiety in even the calmest of individuals. While it feels like it might be easier to ignore the issues, facing family conflict head on is more helpful in the long run for all involved.
When working through family conflict, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Speak the truth. As parents, it is very important to model for your children how to work honestly through even the toughest of situations. When families are aware (age appropriately) of the full truth of situations, solutions and resolutions are far easier to come by. Shielding your children, unnecessarily, from the truth of situations can communicate to them that they’re not emotionally strong enough to handle the truth. Be a truth teller, and help equip your children to deal with truth.
- Commit to attacking the problem, not the person(s) involved in the situation. Seek a workable solution, don’t just try to “win” or be “right.”
- Listen carefully, and establish yourself as a safe listener in your family. Leave room for other family members to talk and express their point of view, experience and/or concerns. If you dominate the discussion, it can feel like you are only on a rampage, rather than you are committed to working together.
- Have especially difficult or awkward conversations face to face, not over text, email or the like. Nuances can be lost when conversations lack the human/emotional component. There remains too much room for misunderstanding when difficult conversations are not had face to face.
- Offer the benefit of the doubt. Sometimes very unanticipated things happen in life, and we just need to offer the benefit of the doubt. Obviously, if there are repeated breaches of trust in certain areas, that should be addressed differently. But, for situations that are more the exception than the rule, choose to see the best in the other person, rather than assume the worst. Besides, you never know when you might be the one asking others to give you the benefit of the doubt.
If, even after employing these ideas into addressing your family conflict, you find your family could use additional help, please reach out to us here at New Horizon’s Center for Healing in McKinney, Texas. We would be honored to help you and your family navigate the difficult life challenges you are facing.