Disagreements with family members are inevitable but they don’t need to become heated arguments or reach a full scale conflict. If there is space for everyone to express their side of the problem and feel heard then a conflict can be avoided. Communication is key to avoiding an unwanted escalation and here are 6 tips to help you steer your family towards a peaceful solution.
1. State the problem and determine who needs to work together to develop the solution. When family members clearly identify a problem, they can begin to work on it. However, when people don't acknowledge the problem, or avoid discussing it altogether, a successful resolution becomes impossible.
2. Establish ground rules for resolving the problem. Before discussing ways to resolve the problem, set some rules for the discussion. For example, agree that no one will call anyone names, or ban yelling. Encourage small breaks from the discussion if tempers flare, and emphasise the importance of resolving conflict peacefully.
3. Brainstorm solutions to the problem. Allow everyone involved to offer input into potential solutions. During the brainstorming process, don't judge whether each solution is good or bad, but instead, create a list of potential solutions.
4. Evaluate the risks and benefits of each potential solution. Listen to each family member's input about the pros and cons of the solutions.
5. Reach a solution as a team. Try to reach a consensus about which solution will best resolve the conflict. Be willing to negotiate, and encourage family members to be open to new solutions.
6. Identify what each family member will do to work on the solution. Each person should identify action steps he or she will take to work toward the solution.