How to Deal with Family Conflict

During a family row, all sorts of hidden resentments and hatreds can bubble to the surface. To prevent such escalation, avoid striking an accusatory tone. Never say “you play your music too loud”, or “I’m sick of the mess you always leave in the bathroom”; instead, tell the individual concerned how their actions are affecting you:  “I can’t sleep because the music is too loud”, or “I have spent 20 minutes cleaning up the bathroom when I should be resting”.

3) Keep talking. 

Communication is key to resolving any conflict, whether that be between spouses, parents and children, or even whole nations. You must keep the dialogue open. You may disapprove of your daughter’s new boyfriend or your husband’s new job, but do not throw your arms into the air and sulk. Keep talking. And talking does not mean whining or nagging! It is also crucial to choose your moment carefully. So wait until the other person is calm, peaceful, and receptive.

4) Listen. 

That does not mean be quiet and wait for the other person to finish speaking. No matter how infuriating your 13-year-old daughter may be as she screeches that she should be allowed to wear a mini skirt, you must listen. Always try to see things from the other person’s viewpoint. And do not allow your emotions to overpower your reason. Are you approachable? Are you so preoccupied with work that your husband and children do not feel they can reach you without yelling? Remember that listening does not mean obeying; it is a sign of strength, not weakness.

5) Re-state what you have heard.