Families: they can be our greatest source of joy or a never ending cause of stress. Some might like to have a few parts replaced, others may prefer to trade theirs in for a more suitable model. Some are grateful to have a family regardless while others would prefer to travel through life solo. If you’re a member of a family, then you know how challenging it can be to deal with the wide scope of personalities, quirky behaviors, opposing viewpoints, different needs, beliefs, and values, along with varying methods of how members doing things. Being unskilled at even the most basic aspects of resolving conflicts, as most of us are, can result in minor differences escalating our stress levels and causing tempers to flare.
Below are some simple suggestions on how to fix family feuds. However, before engaging in the process, ask yourself the following questions: What has my role in this situation been? How have I contributed to the breakdown of our family unit? Is it my attitude, actions, words, or lack thereof? On every level, we are either part of the problem or part of the solution. I must first take inventory of my unconstructive contributions before I can expect to achieve any degree of success with other members.
Assuming I have successfully completely this task and corrected any transgressions , I can now proceed using the following strategies:
1. As respectfully as possible (it is always possible), clearly and succinctly identify the area that needs attention.
2. Remove all distractions such as all technology, small children or any projects you may be working on. This enables all parties to be fully engaged with one another.
3. Allow each party ample time to state what is on their mind without interruption. In this way, each individual will relax knowing they will have adequate time to express their thoughts and concerns.
4. Validate their perspective. Consider their feelings, needs, desires, and such as valid, even if you vehemently disagree with them. Listen with your heart, not simply your ears. It’s called compassion.
5. Ask questions to gain deeper insight into what they are saying.
6. Avoid criticizing or making fun of them. Be respectful at all times.
7. Avoid blame or accusations. Both are destructive and will sabotage any progress from occurring.
8. Inquire as to what they need from you for this issue to be resolved. Listen open mindedly and non-defensively. Discuss whether or not you will be able to accommodate their needs. Make any necessary adjustments.
9. State your position, needs, feelings, wants, etc. Express what you need from them in order to put this issue to rest. Make certain your requests are fair and reasonable.
10. Compromise. A “winner takes all” mentality is not a solution. All parties must feel satisfied in some way in order for the issue to truly be resolved once and for all. Thank them for taking the time to work through this issue.
Families will always disagree on things but our differences needn’t escalate to family feuds. Each member plays a vital role in the wholeness and integrity of the unit. When we learn to embrace the /uniqueness and giftedness of each individual, we can utilize those qualities to strengthen and enrich the whole. And we can finally live in harmony with and enjoy our families, free from fighting.
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