Whenever you have a group of people who share the same home and interact on a regular basis, you’re bound to have conflict and disagreements. Some minor spats blow over on their own when the involved parties cool off and others require a family effort that involves open communication and problem solving. Dealing with conflict as it arises helps to both keep peace in your family and teach children how to resolve conflict in their own lives in a healthy and productive way.
Have a family meeting. Set up rules at the start of the meeting about when it’s appropriate to talk and when it’s appropriate to listen. Ask that all family members be open, honest and respectful.
Ask each family member to take turns discussing their take on the problem and how it affects them. Ask them to share their feelings openly and honestly. Once everyone’s shared, ask each family member how he or she thinks the conflict could be resolved.
Compromise on a solution that offers benefits for each family member, if possible. If you, as a parent, need to intervene and make a decision, explain to your children why you made it. Put a plan in action that helps solve the problem and prevent similar conflicts in the future.
Prevent future conflicts by teaching your children to respect the different personalities of other people in the household, and to pick their battles. Work out schedules and routines to prevent scheduling frustrations. Make sure each family member has a clear understanding of their role in the family and their expected contributions to the household. Practice open and respectful communication to deal with problems as they arise instead of letting them fester.
Talk with a professional family therapist if you have conflicts in your family that you can’t seem to resolve on your own. Learn techniques to improve communication, deal with difficult emotions and solve problems. Consider individual sessions if the conflicts mostly involve specific members of the household. Those family members may be able to open up more in a one-on-one setting.