How Family Problems Progress and Can Ultimately Be Resolved: Info from a Family Counselor in Montana

October 17, 2016 6:01 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Whenever an argument occurs within the family, the tension can quickly spread to the other family members who were not even involved to begin with. This is especially true when the arguments occur between parents.

In general, as a family counselor in Montana, we tend to see family problems occur in these five stages:

  1. The initial disagreement
  2. Other family members begin to take positions
  3. Refusing influence
  4. Vilification of the other side
  5. Emotional disengagement/avoiding each other

If the problems progress all the way through emotional disengagement, distance will begin to occur between family members. These types of disagreements can occur over just about anything, whether it’s money, responsibility, chores or something as simple as who’s going to cook dinner.

No matter what, you’re never going to completely avoid fights within the family. They happen in every single family, and there’s no preventing them. Therefore, you need to be able to understand how to resolve these conflicts once they occur. Preparing yourself for open and honest conflict resolution can help you avoid having these inevitable fights turn into big blowups that cause extremely hurt feelings and a potential falling out.

Here are a few steps to resolving conflicts within your family:

  • Seek understanding: Whenever a conflict arises, it’s natural for emotions to take over. However, as anyone who has ever been in a fight with a loved one can tell you, emotional responses just about never help to resolve the situation. Therefore, our first focus should be on understanding why the other person feels the way they do about the situation, then on responding mindfully to the conflict in question, rather than making an emotional response out of anger or irritation. Focus on what you can say or do that will keep the argument from escalating, and progress toward a solution rather than a blowup.
  • Have a discussion: This discussion should be two-sided. Do not attempt to dominate the discussion when you are having an argument. Encourage openness and honesty, but make sure you are not using language that is either specifically meant to or that could potentially offend the other person. Do not interrupt; let each person say their peace.
  • Come to a compromise: Nobody is always going to get entirely what they want in a conflict situation. Everyone is going to be a little unhappy with the outcome—that’s simply the nature of a compromise. Everyone gives a little, everyone gets a little. The best solution is to find the result that will give everyone the most happiness possible.

Working through this process and understanding the kinds of emotions the other person is feeling will help you to navigate through all of your family troubles with much greater ease and without turning them into big-time explosions.

For more information about how to engage in more effective conflict resolution in your home with all of your family members, contact a family counselor in Montana today. Ellen Savage, MS, LCPC, DCC looks forward to speaking with you.

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