Conflict with family members is common due to the nature of these types of relationships, and yet solving family conflict is not necessarily something we’re taught to do. In school, we learn math, biology, literature, and history but we don’t typically get the opportunity to learn about our emotions and how to communicate them effectively. This is why it’s important for adults to not only learn conflict resolution skills but also share those skills with the youngsters of the family.
Solving Family Conflict
Arming kiddos with the tools to communicate and empathize can not only help empower them to manage conflict elsewhere in their lives, but it can also prevent family conflicts from arising. Here are some important lessons to teach kids and teenagers about solving family conflict:
1. Emotion Regulation
Emotional regulation is one of the most critical factors when dealing with family conflicts and resolution. This is true because family tends to bring out our most intense emotions, and if we cannot manage them, they will do the talking. This may lead to family members saying things they regret, disrespecting each other, and maintaining or worsening the fight. By recognizing and naming your emotions when they arise, you can begin to regulate their presence and get back to your logical side.
The most common types of family conflict typically stem from how we communicate our needs, expectations, and feelings toward each other. Once emotions are regulated, communication should become an easier mission to complete. By using communication tools such as “I” statements and validating reflections, you can decrease the intensity of the conflict and identify a collaborative path to a solution. Typically in conflict, we communicate aggressively, leaving others to feel they have to respond defensively. This is obviously unhelpful when solving family conflict. Effective communication is about recognizing that there isn’t necessarily one person who is right and one who is wrong, and not seeing things only in these black and white ways can help quell a dispute.
Personality clashes in family systems are a common trigger for conflict. Empathy is one way to mitigate some of the trouble that can arise from this type of conflict. By recognizing each other’s differences, you can identify early on that there’s a contrast in perception which might be causing a stir. Empathy helps us put ourselves in the shoes of others and by doing this amidst conflict, you can start to understand each other and work toward a common solution rather than escalate the fight over these differences.
4. Know When to Walk Away
If your conflict cannot be solved by your interventions and things are getting more heated, it may be time to call in some backup. For a child, this may be the time they escalate the issue to speak to an adult. For the adults of the family who struggle to contain the conflict, consider reaching out to relationship mediation services that specialize in family conflict. Having an unbiased 3rd party who knows the ins and outs of family conflicts and resolution can be just the thing your family needs.
Solving family conflict can feel overwhelming. There’s a lot at stake when disputes erupt between relatives. And while there are different ways to effectively resolve conflict, it’s recommended that you get support from unbiased professionals who can diffuse rather than ignite the tension. Contact Pollack Peacebuilding Systems today to get the right kind of resolution for your family.