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Abby Penson, Phd Family Conflict Image


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Family Conflict
Relationships >> Family Conflict

Family conflict is any conflict that occurs within a family.

It could occur between husband and wife, parents and children, between siblings, or with extended family members (grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc.).

Conflict is present in almost every family at one time or another. It's a part of any relationship. Some families may be more prone to conflict. Poor communication can lead to problems. Family members may also "take sides," which can create deeper splits in the household. It is how family members handle conflict that determines whether it becomes problematic or not.

Many events can cause friction or add to it. A family may have trouble making adjustments after changes or differences involving:
  • The birth of a baby
  • Unemployment of one spouse
  • Financial debt
  • Children’s behavioral or emotional problems
  • Problems with in-laws
  • Trying to juggle busy activity schedules
  • A serious illness of a family member
  • Separation, divorce or becoming a stepparent
Whatever the cause of the disagreement, the key is to move forward with respect and understanding. Arguments can be productive if you keep them under control. Replace yelling with calm voices. No name-calling should be allowed. Explore alternative solutions and find one that is agreeable to everyone. Otherwise, the ongoing stress may affect your health and well-being.

The first step toward resolution is to decide you want to work things out in your family. Keep these tips in mind:
  • Face the issues. Explore any underlying fears if you are avoiding a conflict. Find a proper way to convey your feelings and needs. Don't transfer your own past hurts and losses into the current conflict.
  • Take time-outs. It's okay to feel angry, but stay in control over how you display and handle your anger. If you start to feel out of control, take a time-out. Cool down and think through the situation and your actions. Remember, though, that a time-out is a chance to calm down and think about the conflict - not to exit the relationship.
  • Develop greater self-awareness. If you often fight about the same thing, take a look at the root causes. Think deeply about why you and your spouse, child or sibling are arguing about these matters. Accept your part in any conflict, and be responsible for your own actions.
  • Know your bottom line. Think about what you will and won't negotiate. Ask yourself:
    o "If I give in, am I compromising my principles?"
    o "Am I being overly rigid or righteous?"
  • Hold family meetings. This can help each family member understand how others are feeling and thinking on different issues. You can use these meetings to make decisions and resolve conflicts.
  • Take advantage of outside resources, such as:
    o Support groups
    o Financial or legal counselors
    o Mediators
    o Parenting classes
    o Marriage enrichment workshops
    o Individual, couple or family counselors
It may take some trial and error to learn how to address and manage conflicts in a healthy way. Once you do, though, it can bring your family closer together.

SOURCE: www.healthatoz.com

When the degree and intensity of fighting and arguing increases to the point where it impacts daily functioning, happiness, or the personality of one or more family members, outside intervention becomes necessary. Therapy offers family members a neutral voice and a place to be heard. It can also give us the necessary tools to resolve conflict in a healthy way, bringing peace and harmony back to our everyday lives. If you are concerned about your family relationships please contact Dr. Penson @ 323-580-3383 for assistance.

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