Conflicts are a normal part of life — whether we simply do not reach a consensus with our new team member at work, or we don’t share the same opinion with someone else.
However, when it comes to our family members, conflicts can be more damaging if we do not know how to handle opposite beliefs or views.
In a family with children, frequent family conflicts can have a heavy impact on their well-being. So, it is even more important to understand how we can turn family conflicts into a positive experience. Therapy can greatly help with it — learn more how.
What Is Family Conflict?
It is absolutely normal to disagree with other family members. This is because we are all unique, with different personalities, life experiences, and we are all at a different stage in our life. When we misunderstand others, we often tend to jump to the wrong conclusions. In turn, this can lead to a family conflict.
When we cannot address the conflict via communication, it can lead to heated arguments, resentment, and it can even completely rupture the relationship we have with our family members.
Occasional conflict is normal and part of healthy family life. However, if people cannot find a solution to satisfy the other parties, the conflict can turn hurtful and even aggressive.
In short, family conflict refers to disagreeing with family members. The cause can be a trivial matter, such as sharing household chores, or an important event — such as conflicts that appear as you learn to live with your loved one together, you are planning a child, or you already have a child who’s becoming a teenager.
Family Conflicts Examples
Family conflict can happen between you and your better half, parents and children, siblings, and other relatives. Family conflict can be extremely varied because of complex familial bonds.
Some family conflict examples include:
- Conflicts between parents and their teenagers;
- Conflicts arising as a result of an important life-changing event, such as a divorce;
- Conflicts between siblings;
- Conflicts between stepparents and stepchildren;
- Different viewpoints (usually intergenerational conflicts);
- Power struggles between different family members.
What Causes Conflict in Families?
As briefly mentioned above, conflict in families is quite common and can be between spouses, parents and children, and siblings, among others. In general, family conflicts tend to be intergenerational — the young generation versus the older generation.
In many cases, family relationships can be pressured by conflicts as people have a different understanding of family functions, goals, and values. It could be a personality clash between family members. A family arguing may only be able to resolve conflict if people involved manage to identify the cause.
Some of these could be:
Children are growing up and seek more independence
Parents may find it difficult to accept the separation that occurs in teenage years as teens turn into young people. Children or teenagers do not have the skills required to manage conflicts at this stage, so it’s crucial for parents to handle the situation healthily.
Taking each other for granted is another driving factor
We tend to believe that our family will accept us despite bad behaviors — such as shouting and verbal abuse. Many people believe that their family will love them despite this behavior, so they often show it only at home, knowing that a friend or acquaintance would never put up with it.
Stress and unhappiness coming from our work life or other aspects can be another cause
Children or people going through bullying (at school or work), poor health, financial issues, and stress can be easily irritated. In turn, they are more prone to overreact when minor disagreements come up.
Family conflicts happen as people stop listening to their loved ones
When your loved ones say hurtful things to you, as it often happens in conflicts, you tend to feel under attack and start behaving defensively. At this point, the conflict may turn serious as none of the parties involved listens to each other to try to resolve the conflict.
Is Family Conflict Good or Bad?
Conflicts are a normal part of life. However, they should be seen as the perfect opportunity to communicate and understand each other rather than turn aggressive and stop listening.
When handled healthily, family conflicts actually have several benefits:
- Minor conflicts help family members blow off steam, avoiding bigger ones;
- Conflicts bring upproblems or issues that other people in the family deal with, so the family can provide support and help;
- Conflicts help you and other family members have better control over emotions. This could help you have better conflict management at work or in other situations, teaching children important life skills;
- Family conflicts often happen as a result of an issue or misunderstanding. When properly managed, conflicts lead to changes for the better.
However, this is not to be understood that you should seek out conflicts with your family. It is important to understand that minor conflicts are normal, and you and your loved ones can use this situation to improve your life and strengthen your bond.
Conflict Resolution Ways
Engaging a Therapist
Family members can use different family conflict resolution methods. However, if you are worried about yourself or your loved ones, therapy could be a faster and easier way to solve family conflicts.
An experienced professional could help you solve underlying issues or deal with difficult family situations, such as the death of someone you love, a divorce, or help your teenagers with their struggles and concerns.
You can engage an online therapist on platforms like Calmerry.
To build healthy family relationships, there are a few things you could keep in mind. First, we all deal with busy lifestyles, regardless of our occupations. We have lots of responsibilities, so it is understandable if we sometimes forget to spend time with our loved ones.
Try to organise a schedule for your family when you are all available for at least a few minutes to communicate. It may be during or after your dinner, at lunch, or before breakfast. During this time, ask about their activities for the day, read or tell stories, or even cook your meal together. This will also teach your children that you value your family relationship, making them feel loved and important.
Next, communication is the foundation of a healthy relationship with your family members. Take time each day to share information, discuss your day, and be respectful. Kids will also learn that it’s important to communicate with their loved ones.
Efficient communication will help you eliminate misunderstandings which, in turn, decreases the chances of family conflicts.
Finally, for a healthy family, you need to become a team. Work together and make each family member feel important and appreciate their contribution. For example, when you need to make a big decision, such as moving homes, make sure all family members are involved in the decision-making process. This will also help them build important life skills, such as problem-solving.
All in all, family conflicts are normal as long as they are minor. The most important aspect is to always remember that you are a family. Always provide support, help, love, and care. Being aware of others’ needs or problems can reduce stress and help you manage conflicts. Also, read more articles on The Tech Diary.