>> Family Conflict
Family conflict is any conflict that occurs within
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 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
- 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.
o "If I give in, am I compromising
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,
o Support groups
o Financial or legal counselors
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.
WHEN SHOULD I ASK FOR HELP?
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.