May 3, 2017
Family Conflicts: 7 Ways to Keep the Peace in Your Home
Written by Rachel Eddins
It seems like the most intense conflicts always happen at home and with the people closest
to us. Family conflicts can take various forms, like:
- a shouting match with your teenager over the type of clothes they want to wear for their school’s prom
- a disagreement with your in-laws over where you will spend the holidays
- an argument with your spouse about ending the co-sleeping habits of your youngest children
- a squabble between relatives over who will get granddad’s vintage Sam Houston and Davy Crockett memorabilia collection
- a rivalry between siblings about which one of them is the best soccer player
Whatever the case, family conflicts tend to cause the greatest pain and suffering. This is mostly because our feelings are so deeply involved in close quarters, especially if you live in a large city like Houston. It’s no surprise. Families are made up of individuals with different personalities, feelings, and viewpoints. Hard as you may try, nobody can do or say exactly the right thing all the time. Conflicts are unavoidable.
Nevertheless, it is possible to enjoy at least a measure of peace in your home. How?
7 Ways of Keeping the Peace in Your Family
- Cultivate a positive view of others
Family conflicts often start with one person feeling their opinion matters most or others should share it because it’s the only correct view. Promoting peace in the family means that you take a good, hard look at yourself and realize that your opinion is as valid as any other family members’ viewpoint. Instead of thinking negatively of each other, learn to develop a positive view. Yield to one another. And don’t just look out for your own interests, but also for the interests of others.
- Demonstrate patience and mildness
Many great minds have acknowledged the universal truth that what is soft and yielding can overcome what is rigid and hard. That’s why patience and mildness can conquer even the hardest entrenched patterns. When conflict arises, learn to take a deep breath, step back, and look at the matter from all angles. Examine 1) your own perspective, 2) that of the other person, and 3) how a third party would view the matter. This will help you view any problem with some detachment and more objectively.
- Never resort to being abusive
Reacting with verbal or physical abuse in family conflicts is an act of war, not peace. Instead of making your words stab like a dagger, focus on saying things that sooth and heal your loved one’s feelings. Even if you have a point to make, carefully consider what you should say and how to say it. Resist the urge to be sarcastic, raise your voice, or make unfounded accusations. Aim to disarm, not wound. Violent words or conduct are inexcusable.
- Practice sharing and giving
A family is about having fun, laughing, sharing good times together, and enjoying each other’s company. When you practice giving and sharing with your family members, you become a living example. Take time to think about your family members and figure out what makes them happy. Surprise them with something you know they’ll like. Even if they’re reluctant at first, in time, they will follow suit and begin thinking of what they can do for you to make you happy in turn. Promoting peace is a win-win situation.
- Listen attentively
The most perplexing thing about conflict is that it’s usually based on what you conclude has happened, not what really did happen. When emotions run high, actions and words can easily be misinterpreted or motives misconstrued. That’s why it’s so important to learn to listen attentively — with an open mind and without prejudice. Rather than imputing bad motives to others, acknowledge their feelings. Keeping peace means giving each other the benefit of the doubt, showing compassion and empathy, and respecting each other’s opinions.
- Be ready to apologize
If you have wronged or offended one of your family members, take responsibility for your part in the conflict. Be quick to apologize and let them know what you’ll do to correct the situation. Even if you feel you’ve done nothing wrong, you can apologize for responding in a bad way or unintentionally contributing to the problem. Peace within your family is more important than pride and victory. When you fight, both parties lose.
- Be willing to forgive
Sometimes, you may hold back forgiveness after family conflicts have been settled. It’s like you’re carrying that little remnant of the problem with you just in case you need to remind others what they had done. But remember, family peace is impossible without forgiving. If someone apologizes, be eager to forgive them freely and fully. It’s one of the most beautiful and uniting things when someone forgives another for what they have said or done in a moment of agitation.
Never give up promoting peace in your home. Don’t give up even when family conflicts don’t disappear right off or some family members don’t want to be very cooperative. And if you need extra help, don’t shy away from seeking family counseling. It’s well worth the effort to be a peacemaker and work on promoting tranquility in your family. Contact us in Houston to schedule an appointment at 832-559-2622 or schedule an appointment online.