The Heart of the Matter!

Arguments or conflicts between family members arise in every household and that can be a good thing, because resolving conflicts ultimately leads to a deeper understanding between the individuals of a family. That being said, in order to curb the negative impact these events have on the dynamics of a relationship, the following lines are going to be about the tact of tackling family related issues, as in conflicts.

Active Listening

Ever heard of the saying, “listening diffuses conflict,” it’s true. The reason why some people don’t want to listen to you is not because they are stubborn, but rather because they don’t feel like they are being heard. Active listening comes in handy in both cases, as in, having a hard time being understood or having a hard time being heard. When done effectively, active listening has the power to, stop arguments, defuse strong emotions, help others in feeling heard, helps another person to what you have to say and helps persuade the other person, so that you can improve your relationship with them.

It is important to understand that understanding comes through listening, so you should first seek to understand and then be understood. It is also important to understand here that listening and discussing are two entirely separate things, while discussing matters is important, it is a two way process that just involves a listening skill. On the other hand, listening is a one way process that only involves a person listening to what another person has to say and try to understand the message that the other person is trying to convey.

The World’s Most Important Words, “I’m Sorry”

How often do parents hear the word ‘Sorry’? Probably multiple times in a single day. That’s because children say sorry just because they want their problems to go away. For adults however, saying sorry means admitting to one’s mistake and having to swallow your ego way down, which can seem an impossible task at times.

Apologies are effective in resolving conflicts, whether within a family or otherwise. This simple word has the power to reduce the pain caused by a inconsiderate remark, petty joke or even any wrong or discourtesy that may have been caused by the acts of a person. Both apologizing and forgiving, when offered genuinely, are acts of emotional resolution. A lot of this is got to do with a person first appreciating the consequences of their actions which will help them develop empathy.

Take a Break

People taking quick actions are common in a conflict and the urge is simple, someone does or says something to hurt or harm you, and you feel like it should be tended to immediately. But lashing out at the spur of the moment is not always a good idea and can do more harm than good. Mainly because a sudden response to a hurt or injury is always emotionally charged and because of that, even though it may be to stop the hurt, it tends to feed the conflict and trigger negative thoughts.

It is always a good idea for people to take a break when things get a bit hot under the collar. For a more lasting change, it is always better to wait for the situation to die down or until the emotion has cleared, this will allow you to think clearly to gain a more positive outcome. Take a break to give you a chance to access the situation with a clear mind, get some perspective and determine how you should proceed in solving the conflict.

If you feel overwhelmed or flooded, taking a short break can help resolve a conflict in a relationship. Cool off a bit, and once the time out or break is over, you will be in a better state of mind to focus on addressing the issue.

The Blame Game

For many families, playing the blame game is the go-to sentiment whenever their relationships hit a bump in the road. Before you know it, your family starts to blame each other, you start to blame your kids and your kids start to blame you for things they don’t like, and the vicious circle continues. But the truth is, it doesn’t really matter who is at fault, because at the end of the day trying to figure out who to blame for XYZ is just a waste of time.

When we look for someone to blame we are actually trying to dodge or avoid responsibility, which is actually the opposite of what we should really be doing to resolve an issue. So, from now on, why not come up with a different game plan. One that doesn’t blame anyone, but helps you practice collaborative problem solving solutions with your family.

Accept Difference

The underlying issue which drives a conflict is the need of power. We often grow to feel like a person is not even trying to understand our point of view. While trying to resolve family issues, it is important to keep an open mind. There are often many sides to a family conflict, so try to understand another person’s point of view first. To improve your relationship within the family, take some time to talk about the things that you have in common or can relate to.

In the end, we are all products of our upbringing and experiences, so it is completely natural to have a different point of view. Tolerance is the key, but you can still maintain your own identity and have a valid viewpoint at the same time.

Find Options

“There’s more than one way to skin a cat,” in almost all situations, a person is either blind to the way they’re approaching issues or is unwilling to admit their fault when confronted. If a person feels that you are looking out more for yourself than for the other person, they will stop trusting you and where there is no trust, there can be no sense of safety. The trick is to find the option that works for both parties in a conflict and makes everybody happy.

Solve to Resolve

The “because I say so” approach can work with your kid in getting you the desired results. But, chances are, junior will not find any kind of satisfaction. In my experience, older children consider peers to be more important than family that is, they will usually observe how their peers solve problems. At around ten years old, most children become highly auditory and start to communicate about problems in order to solve them. Nowadays, kids are becoming more and more independent and want to solve their own problems. Parents need to communicate to their kids at this age, that they recognize and trust their child’s abilities to solve their problems.

When it comes to adults, give your mate the benefit of the doubt. The next time you’re feeling disappointed or angry with your spouse, pause before jumping to conclusions. Maybe your spouse is tired, hungry, or pre-occupied or doesn’t see the impact of his or her actions.

Gender Neutrality

To solve a family issue it is important to be fair and look very closely at your own behaviors and motivations and ask your spouse to do the same. Before getting into a relationship, it is important to ask each other an important question, which is, how do both of you experience the fairness of give and take in a relationship? This will help you in finding the middle ground and creating a balance that works best.

Common Goal

Never try to sell your point of view to your spouse. This is where communication comes in. It is important for two people in a relationship to talk about their underlying worries and issues that contribute to the problem that they are trying to solve. Listen carefully to your partner’s concerns and keep an open mind. Learn all you can about your own concerns and your partner’s, as well.  Your goal, again, should be to find common ground.

Help (Counseling if Necessary)

There is no such thing as the perfect family. Family counseling is used to encourage conversations between family members. A therapist can help family members process feelings of being excluded or rejected, which might be the underlying reason for their disruptive behavior which has been misunderstood by the other members of the family.

The first step to resolving a family dispute is to realize that whenever we are talking about people, there is going to be some sort of conflict. The Bible says the reason for this is sin you are born with a nature that wants to put yourself first. I want what I want, when I want it. Having this mindset will help you in turning any situation into a catastrophe and will only bring further pain and heartache to the rest of the family. To avoid creating a division within the family, always seek to find a compromise where possible, and extend forgiveness.