Once you are interacting with people, there will be Conflict. And really, we fight with our Family Members, especially our siblings all the time. Conflict in the family can originate from differing opinions, misunderstandings and lack of respect for boundaries. In a family, anything can be a trigger. So, how can you stop fighting? You can’t -- conflict is inevitable. What can be managed is how you choose to resolve the conflict. You do not want feelings of resentment and anger to take root and grow within the family. Ongoing family conflict can hurt the bonds within the family.

Developing a Plan for your family can assist when conflict situations arise.

A consistent ritual

Establish a day and time which you set aside, free from distractions (turn off the cell phones and television). This can help resolve recurring issues that family members encounter. Smaller meetings can also be set up for specific issues. The important point is to establish a period of time with NO distractions so you can give all your attention to the issues being discussed.

Listen more than you speak

Ensure that the ritual meetings the family has are guided by rules. Everyone has a right to speak (respectfully) and be heard. When we are in conflict, or we are emotional, we tend to speak more than we listen.

To resolve a conflict, we need to listen as much, if not more, than we speak. The key is to try to stay calm and focus on the issues at hand. Ensure everyone understands what is being said.

Leave the past alone

Try not to bring past conflicts into the present, especially if they were resolved. They will lead to the reopening of old wounds.

Planned speaking points

Sit down and think about what the issues are and write them down. Identify the points you would like discussed and possible ways the conflict could be resolved. This will assist you, especially if the conversation gets heated or emotional.

We are at an impasse

When dealing with family members, negotiating and coming to an agreement is easier said than done.

Have a backup plan in case no one is willing to change their position. Ensure you have some creative solutions to offer. At least this can get them thinking about other options.

Be willing to negotiate

Siblings do not like to “lose” arguments against their siblings. Parents may not be willing to negotiate because they are the adult. But, family members must ensure that they are willing to negotiate their positions to find a resolution.

It is important to note that if there are serious issues within the family that are affecting the healthy functioning of the family, it is important to seek professional assistance. There are some things that we cannot resolve ourselves, and we will need the guidance and expertise of a counselor or mediator.

Being loyal to the plan you have developed will help teach family members how to resolve the conflict. Will it stop the yelling and fighting? This is doubtful, but it can decrease its occurrence and hopefully teach self-management and communication skills to our children.