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Just like in any other relationships, conflicts are inevitable in the family. It can happen between husband and wife, between parents and children, and among the children. Having occasional conflict in the family is healthy; what is not, is having ongoing conflict. This ongoing conflict can be stressful and causes damage to the family relationship. Published by Hypnosis in London on 7 January 2016, written by Malminder Gill.
A conflict in the family means there is a disagreement. It happens when your views or beliefs on certain issues are different from other members of your family. This is normal as every person in your family is unique and so are your and your family’s perception on things and opinion on certain matters.
Common Causes of Conflict in the Family
There are different reasons why conflict happens in families. The most common reasons fall under these areas: finances and jobs, sibling rivalry, child discipline, and extended family.
Finances and Jobs
If you or your partner’s job causes you or him/her to be away for long, then it can cause conflict in your family as other members, like your children, may feel neglected. Being unemployed can also cause conflict as it can create a feeling of uncertainty towards your family’s future.
Finances can be a source of conflict especially if there’s insufficient money to meet the basic needs of the family.
When one child in your family feels that the other child is much more favored, then it can cause conflict as the child expresses jealousy or gets into competition with the other child.
If you’re a parent, then child discipline can be a source of conflict between you and your partner. This usually happens if you don’t have unifying views and ways of disciplining your child. Conflict can happen when one of you becomes the disciplinarian while the other one becomes the child’s consoler.
Conflict may also arise from the extended family especially if in-laws and other relatives often get into family issues.
Different Responses to Family Conflict
Conflict elicits various responses. These include fighting, submission, avoidance, paralysis, and collaborative solution.
When your family responds through fighting, the people involved will try to win the argument, no matter what. When submission becomes the response, one party will decide to give up on getting what they want to give way for the other party. It is paralysis when your family is fully aware of the problem but decides to ignore it for reasons like anxiety or fear. When your family responds through a collaborative solution, you work together as a unit to address the disagreement and come up with a solution that satisfies everyone.
The first four responses are ineffective ways of resolving the family conflict because it often leaves one party feeling disappointed, angry, or sad. It’s a win-lose solution. The best and most effective response to any family conflict is a collaborative solution; that is, you work together as a family, address the disagreements in an acceptable way, and come up with a solution that satisfies everyone’s needs.
Solving Conflict Through Collaborative Solution
The following steps can help you get into collaborative solution for resolving conflict in the family:
Identify the problem
There are family issues that are left unresolved because the problem isn’t clearly defined. The first step towards a collaborative solution is to determine the problem including the people who should work together to get the problem solved.
Set rules for discussion
Typically, when we’re angry, we make arguments to prove that we are right. This angry impulse can make conflict resolution difficult. It would be helpful if everyone in the family agrees to solve the conflict in a peaceful manner. You may come up with rules for discussion like not allowing yelling or calling anyone names.
Try to listen
Anger can escalate in the family if no one’s willing to listen to what the other person is trying to say. By applying a technique called reflective listening, you are showing your empathy and that you care for what the other person is saying. Reflective listening is different from merely ‘hearing’ as you simply do not just focus on your opinion or views.
Allow everyone in the family to suggest solutions for the identified problem. Do not judge what the other person has to say. Also, do not attempt to interrupt the other person while he/she is talking. You can also ask questions to confirm that you understand what the other person is saying.
At this point, your goal should be just to solicit solutions and not judge every suggestion.
Evaluate the pros and cons of each solution
Once you have come up with possible solutions, it’s time to evaluate each and identify their benefits and risks.
Choose a win-win solution
Resolving a conflict is considered to be a creative act as you need to pick a solution that satisfies all the people involved. Choosing a win-win solution means picking an option or options that address the most strongly felt concerns in the family.
These are just some of the ways on how you can come up with a collaborative solution for family conflict.
If you’re feeling anxious with your relationship with your family and don’t know what to do next, hypnotherapy can help. Through hypnosis, I have helped clients gain more confidence in their relationship and re-gain their personal sense of power. I can help you too to help you deal better with your family conflict.