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Managing Family Conflict

Time waits for no one and before you know it, your kids are grown. Although family life provides a type of happiness found nowhere else, it also presents a unique set of challenges. Whether unintentionally or blatant, conflict exists in almost all families.

How conflict is managed is more important than avoiding it. Families that are capable of peacefully resolving conflicts work harder to consider others feelings and, as a result, grow closer to each other. Failure to confront conflict creates unresolved problems that can lead to anger and resentment.

Whether your family’s problems are large or small, make an effort to restore the peace in your home. One way to get off the rocky road is by scheduling regular family meetings. The meeting should:

Determine the problem. It’s important to state and identify the problem so no one can avoid it. When people fail to acknowledge the problem or refuse to discuss it, resolution is impossible.

Offer solutions to the problem. Each family member should offer a solution and their input should be valued. Take care not to judge the solutions; rather, make a list of potential solutions that can be discussed. When people are given the floor to speak, they are less likely to harbor bad feelings.

Once the list of solutions is made, weigh the advantages and consequences of the solutions as a family. Listen to each family member’s evaluation of the solutions. Reaching a consensus can be difficult, but try to implement the solution that the majority favors. One of the goals of the family meeting is to work on the problem as a team. Be open to negotiations and be open to new solutions.

Determine what family members will do to work on the solution. Dealing with family conflict is akin to pulling weeds. Ridding weeds from the garden is arduous, much like confronting adversity is. Weeds take space, nutrients and sunlight away from the other plants in the garden. Contention drives a wedge between people, pilfers love and shouldn’t have a place in your family.

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