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How to Navigate Family Conflict: Tips and Strategies

by Emmanuel Ozoamalu
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Family conflict can be a stressful situation for all involved. The best way to handle a family conflict is to work together as a team, but sometimes this isn’t possible for one reason or another. In some cases, you may have little control over who will be involved in the conflict resolution process—for example, if your child is being bullied at school or if there has been an accident involving someone outside of your family circle. In these cases, it’s important to learn how not just how to avoid fighting but also how best to deal with issues once they arise in order to make sure everyone stays safe!

Create a team for conflict resolution.

A family conflict resolution team can be a valuable asset in your quest to navigate family conflict. The key is to create a balanced team that reflects the strengths and weaknesses of each member, as well as their roles in resolving the issue.

  • Each person on the team should have specific responsibilities related to their role—whether it’s mediator, neutral observer or advisor. If one person doesn’t have any experience with these skills, they may need some assistance from another member who does possess these abilities. The goal is for everyone involved in solving problems within your family unit (including yourself) so that everyone has equal opportunities for success when working toward a resolution.
  • Your team members must respect each other’s input as well as their own personal experiences; otherwise, nothing will get done!

This means being sensitive about how you say things and avoiding sarcasm when talking with someone who is upset by something you’ve done wrong; instead of blaming them for not understanding what happened or why something happened this way.”

Assign one family member as the mediator.

The best way to resolve conflicts is to have someone who is impartial, neutral and unbiased. This person should be able to listen without judging the situation or other members of your family. If you choose an outsider like a therapist or lawyer, ask them if they would be willing to serve as a mediator in this case.

Talk about the source of conflict first.

The first step to navigating family conflict is to talk about the source. This means finding out what is really bothering you, not what someone else thinks or feels about it. You may need to go back and forth between different perspectives on the same topic.

Be specific and concrete when describing your problem: What is happening? Do you feel frustrated by something that has nothing to do with you? Or do you have a specific issue that needs attention right now? Remember, there’s more than one way of looking at things—and it’s important not just for yourself but also for others in your life who might benefit from hearing how things are going (or could be going) at home.

Use “I” statements instead of blaming others: When asking questions like “Why did my son want me out of his room?” try replacing these words with phrases such as “I felt hurt because…” or “I was mad because…” Instead of saying something like “You never listen!” try saying “When I asked if I could use their computer because mine didn’t work anymore…

Use a different language to talk about your differences.

  • Use “I” statements.
  • Don’t use negative language.
  • Don’t use the word “but.”
Don’t blame or shame each other.
  • Don’t blame or shame each other.
  • Don’t bring up past conflicts.
  • Don’t use sarcasm or humour to make a point.
Plan how you will resolve the situation (e.g., a family meeting).

The best way to navigate family conflict is to plan ahead. This helps you be more prepared, avoid surprises, avoid conflicts, and avoid arguments. When you plan ahead of time how you’ll resolve a situation, it helps prevent misunderstandings or arguments with others in your family.

Here are some suggestions on how to plan ahead:

  • Make sure everyone knows what they need to do so that everyone feels involved in the decision-making process (e.g., “I want my mom’s opinion on whether we should go camping this weekend”).
  • Get all information needed for making decisions (e.g., maps).
Avoid patterns of aggressive behaviour from either side, such as dominance/subordination, blaming, etc.

This can be a difficult task for some people and families. If you have a history of aggressive behaviour in your relationships—especially if it’s been directed at an adult parent or other relative—it may be hard to break old patterns. However, learning how to change those behaviours is vital if you want the relationship with your children to last over time.

Try these tips to help navigate family conflict
  • Try to use a calm, clear voice.
  • Don’t interrupt your loved one when they are talking.
  • Don’t use sarcasm or name-calling in any form. It’s not only hurtful, but it can actually make things worse. It makes you seem like an angry person who doesn’t care about what anyone else thinks at all!
  • Don’t threaten anyone with violence or physical harm if you’re trying to resolve conflict at home; this will only increase their fear of you and make them feel more isolated than ever before in their entire lives!
  • Never make threats that aren’t backed up by facts. It’s just another way of saying “I’ll do anything!” Let’s just say that having someone else’s blood on your hands doesn’t really give any kind of benefit whatsoever to either party involved. It only creates more problems down the road when things inevitably get nasty between those two individuals again. Later, down the line largely due because neither party had realized beforehand how much damage such actions could cause. This, therefore, causes further damage to them when they realise what happened earlier.

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