Conflict can be difficult and stressful. The way you handle it can make all the difference. Conflict can lead to estrangements, strained relationships and marital breakdowns. Having a game plan to manage family and relationship conflict can be so helpful to address these issues. When you handle them early, as they happen, instead of waiting for them to pile up it’s a lot easier to get through challenges as a team. Here are some ideas to help be proactive:
- Hold regular family meetings. Deal with issues on a weekly or biweekly basis so everyone has the opportunity to speak and be heard. This keeps problems from accumulating and weighing on people for too long. Having this predictable routine normalizes talking things through and gives plenty of chances to communicate proactively.
- Maintain a shared calendar. Clearly lay out everyone’s time commitments to avoid double bookings and minimize rushing around. Reduce stress by being clear about what needs to happen so nobody is left hanging or disappointed that the things they wanted to do didn’t happen.
- Divide household responsibilities. Consider establishing a chore chart or some system to allocate household duties so the home stays clean and nobody feels like they are the only one doing everything. Be prepared to adjust this distribution when family members have fluctuating responsibilities outside the home.
- Prioritize quality time spent together. Make time for the people you love and show them that you care about them by giving them your undivided attention. Consider phone-free outings, dinners at the table or whatever ritual helps you reconnect and relax together.
- Get clear on your values. Take the opportunity to get clear on what is important to you as a family or a couple. This will help guide prioritizing opportunities that conflict and where time and money are invested.
- Make sure to have some fun. When everything’s all business all the time, it is easy for resentment to build and for people to take each other for granted. Create some white space in your calendar to just goof off. Work and play should have some balance to create opportunities for enjoyment.
- Get help when needed. Don’t be afraid to reach out. Consider enrolling in a parenting education program, a relationship workshop, or reach out to a Wellin5 counsellor to navigate the challenges in your relationship. You don’t have to do it alone.
Give these seven ways to manage family and relationship conflict a try and see how they work in your household. By being proactive and intentional, family and relationship conflict can be minimized and you can find more ways to enjoy yourself during your time together.
Wellin5 has qualified counsellors who address family and relationship conflict issues, as well as the personal issues that can drive them. Having an outside perspective can be beneficial and it’s an investment in your family that you won’t regret. Therapy can help your relationships (and yourself!) blossom. What are the most regular areas of conflict in your house?