Frustration, miscommunication, and lack of understanding of each other are the most common causes of conflicts in the household. The truth is that we all have a bad day. So, the idea of banning conflicts altogether can feel impossible.
But what if you found ways to express your feelings and let go of negative thoughts? Conflicts are normal between people. After all, we all have our own thoughts, personality, and communication type. So, from time to time, we may accidentally rub against each other in the wrong way.
Picture the scene: You are back from work and tired after a long day. But your child is in a bad mood too and has decided to be uncooperative.
Or perhaps your partner’s response to stressful situations is to isolate themselves and process their thoughts, while you need to surround yourself with people. These disparities can lead to issues if they are left unaddressed. So what can you do at home to reduce and manage potential conflicts before they tear your family apart? Here are some ideas to get you started!
Create family activities
Conflicts can disrupt the family’s unity. Unfortunately, more and more families struggle to find time together. Spending quality time together, such as playing cornhole games or going for a weekend hike, helps establish deeper connections. Common activities are becoming an exception in busy families. Me time and doing things you want to do for yourself matter. But you should also commit some time to interact with your loved ones and make new memories together, even if it is only playing board games once a week.
When people spend time together, they build an intuitive understanding of each other, getting to read someone else’s intention behind their behavior. Indeed, as we all behave differently, it is fair to say that things can affect us differently. But playing together means you can create a safe and friendly space to see everyone at their best. In times of disagreement, the positive memories together can stop things from escalating and help take a step back and agree to see the situation from the other person’s perspective.
Besides, common activities are also a fantastic tool to release pressure so that you can feel more relaxed. As stress is a major source of conflict, family activities can help get rid of it!
Use tools to resolve incompatibilities
What are the main personality differences in your family?
Let us paint an average American family for the purpose of this exercise:
Imagine a peace-loving father who enjoys relaxing by reading books alone to recharge his energy. On the other hand, the mother seeks friends’ support and needs to talk it out when she experiences high pressure. When the couple is faced with a highly stressful situation, their reactions are completely opposite. She might reach out to him and want to discuss the issue. On the other hand, he may prefer to spend time by himself with his thoughts. Their attitude to stress is not only incompatible, but they are also likely to become each other’s stress aggravator. That is where tools such as the Thomas Kilmann Conflict mode instrument (TKI for short) can make a big difference by identifying actionable and practical resolution paths that will work to improve their communication. It may not be easy to talk things out when you both come from different perspectives. The TKI tool can help appreciate that starting points and angles are not the same, so you can put yourself in the other person’s shoes.
Do not be afraid to admit you are wrong
As a parent, you cannot always get things right. Parenting mistakes are frequent, and they are inevitable. But expecting perfection from yourself is an impossible dream and one that will be constantly crushed. So, embrace the reality of the situation as soon as possible. You are a figure of authority for your child, but you will also mess up at times. Does it mean you are at risk of losing your child’s respect and love? No. It is your first time being a parent, and their first being a child. Mistakes are to be expected.
However, your reaction to hurting your child’s feelings or recognizing your weaknesses will be crucial in resolving the current and further conflicts. There is no shame in admitting your errors and apologizing to your child. On the contrary, parents that refuse to acknowledge mishaps on their part are more likely to damage the relationship with their children permanently. You have a responsibility for what you did wrong, so it is important to show your child that you hear and understand their complaint. You can also explain how the situation escalated rapidly on your end and your inappropriate behavior occurred. Indeed, the process will humanize your behavior and make it more understandable and forgivable. Whenever possible, offer a form of reparation by giving your child something they want and the chance to spend time together. It will prove to them that you listen and pay attention and want to strengthen your relationship. For instance, if you yelled at your child because you were stressed out. You can offer, once you have apologized and explained your over-reaction, to talk it over with them in front of their favorite TV show.
It is an important lesson for children and spouses because they can also learn to apologize properly by observing you. In the future, misunderstandings will be less likely to cause a shift in your relationship when both parties know how to apologize.
Reduce overlooked stressors at home
Clutter, excessive caffeine, or even dark spaces can affect your mood and increase the likelihood of conflicts. While it is not to say that a clean and bright room and little coffee will drive peace in the household, they can certainly keep your mind in a more relaxed state. Your emotional state could make all the difference between lashing out at someone and calmly explaining what upsets you. So, it may be worth bringing more natural light into your home, improving your storage and cleaning routine, and switching off the stimulants!
Can you avoid conflicts and disagreements altogether? The answer is no. But you can create healthy interpersonal and lifestyle habits that will provide safe, effective, and successful management tips to resolve and decrease conflicts.