Despite the picturesque scenes sometimes portrayed in commercials on television, families are complicated and messy. Even the most tightly-knit, loving families will still run into their fair share of disagreements and problems in an effort to live together. Problems and misunderstandings can arise from any number of sources.
The first step to addressing many of these misunderstandings or disagreements comes in having the time and space to talk it out. However, that step is often the most difficult, and thus many families and relationships can falter at the first hurdle. While each family is different and each relationship unique, there are ways that someone can try to begin to have difficult conversations in a positive and productive way.
Disagreements Aren’t the End of the World
Disagreements and arguments between family members can lead to a very tense, sensitive atmosphere permeating throughout the entire household. As communication breaks down, it can be difficult to even know where to start. But before anyone opens their mouths, it is important to remember that having an argument doesn’t mean that there still isn’t love between family members.
If left unaddressed, these disagreements can become an almost sourceless resentment, but disagreements and arguments don’t typically jump to that extreme. When preparing to have a difficult conversation about an argument, it is important to remember that a disagreement doesn’t mean the complete breakdown of love or trust and that each person should still be approached with this sense of caring.
Hosting a Conversation
Having time and space to talk out interpersonal issues is important, and having an agreed upon time in order to address these issues can help each person get more on board with the difficult conversation ahead. When finding a time to address disagreements or arguments, it is important not to suddenly spring the conversation on someone. If someone isn’t expecting to have a confrontation at a certain point, they can feel almost attacked or cornered through the conversation.
This can compromise the genuine nature that this kind of conversation demands, as well as damage trust between the two people. Agree on a time when everyone involved is available to talk about the issues at hand so that each person has a chance to prepare their voice and emotionally prepare themselves for the event. This can help each person feel like their voice matters and takes the element of surprise out of the situation.
Get to the Source
When addressing an argument between family members, it is important to know why the argument started in the first place. While this may seem obvious at first, it is common that two people having an argument will begin to view things that the other does through a negative lens, which can lead to even more arguments.
Addressing the source is addressing the first event or interaction that caused this negative conflict to occur. In addressing the source of the problematic event, each member is encouraged to use objective evidence of what occurred rather than rely on pure speculation of what happened. If someone is suspecting another person of something in particular, it is important to note all of the evidence that they have in the case.
As each member is talking, know that this isn’t a time to continue the dispute. It is important for each person to express how they perceived the event and be heard as an equal. As each person is able to give their view of the argument in a fair and unimpeded manner, each member is forced to try to understand where each other is coming from.
Knowing What to Do Next
Discussing interpersonal issues within a family unit is just the first part of the equation. After each person has discussed the event, it is then time to try to figure out what to do next. The solution here will vary depending on the particular relationship that each family member has with each other, as well as the nature of the argument.
However, when deciding to know what problem-solving solutions to employ, it is still important to remember that this isn’t the time for punishment or trying to find who was right or wrong. Each person felt a certain way due to the situation and that likely isn’t going to change. As a result, these discussions aren’t a way for someone to figure out who was right about a situation, but rather, how the misconception or disagreement could have been avoided or dealt with at the time.
Even simple solutions, such as changing two or three words in someone’s vocabulary, can make a huge impact on someone else, both for better or worse depending on the situation. Solutions don’t involve denying someone a way to express themselves, but rather, working together to find a way that allows all parties to be unimpeded by each other. Throwing a ball outside rather than inside or having a dedicated time to practice music are just two examples.
Allowing arguments between family members to fester without confrontation is a highway to creating more and more toxic environments between all involved, as well as in the entire household. Having a safe space for people to talk to each other, disagree with each other, and ultimately respect each other is important for a family as a whole.
Families are complicated and there are innumerable different factors at play when any group of people are all trying to live together while simultaneously pursuing their own individuality. Adults, teens, and children all have a voice and role in each family, and learning how to operate as a respectful, functioning unit can go a long way for everyone’s stress management. If you and your family need help to navigate the complicated, interpersonal atmosphere of a family unit, or need a safe space in order to address some of the heavy topics that families may have to face day-to-day, LifeTutors is available to help. With trained professionals in life coaching, family coaching, and conflict resolution, LifeTutors can help each person gain the skills they need to raise their voices and continue to pursue their own individuality while remaining a valued member of the family as a whole. For more information on how LifeTutors can help you, call today at (828) 417-7122.