Every family has its struggles. Siblings bicker, teenagers butt heads with their parents, and parents are faced with their own conflicts. Fortunately, most of these problems can be resolved, if not avoided entirely, when taking the time to understand the psychology behind the issues.
While this may sound complex, in actuality it is fairly simple, as you don’t even have to have a psychology degree to learn the basics. Simply learning the reasons behind conflicts will give family members a better understanding of each other, as well as themselves, and allow them to work through the issues as a team.
1. Lack of communication between family members:
Many problems arise simply because family members fail to effectively communicate with one another. Adults and children must learn how to calmly and patiently explain their expectations and needs to other members of the family. Instead of playing games and waiting for someone to read their mind, each member of the family must take the time to communicate with one another. If every member of the family agrees to try to calmly express their thoughts and feelings, a great deal of conflict can be avoided.
2. Disagreements over money:
According to therapist Olivia Mellan, in an article released by MSN, money represents dependency, freedom, and most importantly, control. As a result, family disputes about money are rarely actually about money, but are about power. However, arguments over finances can be greatly mitigated if spouses agree to make financial decisions together. By doing so the couple is ultimately agreeing to share control, which will cause them to view each other as equals.
3. Meddling or overly nosy relatives:
According to the Family Education Network, experiencing conflict over in-laws and other relatives that frequently try to dictate how a family should be run is a common problem that many families face. In order to solve this problem, it is important for both spouses to take turns explaining how the situation makes them feel. Then, if necessary, the couple should calmly and respectfully approach the family member to resolve the issue.
4. Disputes over career direction:
Families may experience this problem in a variety of ways. Some parents may try to dictate the career path of their child, while other couples may find that one spouse attempts to control their partner’s choice of career. This need to control a family member usually comes from a person’s desire to see the individual succeed. However, all involved parties must understand that the only adult life they have the right to control is their own.
5. Disagreements on raising children:
Most adults have strong opinions about how they want to raise their children. These opinions arise from each parent’s upbringing and past experiences. Unfortunately, varying past experiences between a couple can cause each person to have different opinions on how a child should be raised, which often results in conflict. To get past these differences, both parents will need to look past their own experiences and focus on the current situation. Focusing on the situation at hand will help both parents see the all the issues clearly and allow them to compromise on a solution.
6. A child or teenager acting out:
Nearly all children and teenagers will go through phases of “acting out” or asserting their independence. The key to working through these phases is to try to understand why a child is behaving this way. Refrain from getting angry or threatening children who are misbehaving. In an article for Psychology Today, Carl Pickhardt, Ph.D., claims threatening children, instead of guiding and disciplining them with a level head, will only escalate the situation.
7. Frequent disputes among siblings:
When raising two or more children, arguments are bound to arise. Frequent disputes and/or competitiveness among siblings tend to be a manifestation of jealously. When handling these situations, parents must be careful to treat both children fairly and avoid favoring one child. Unless the dispute is completely one-sided, both children will need to be disciplined equally.
8. Holiday disagreements among relatives:
One of the most common fights among relatives is whose turn it is to visit whom, especially around the holidays. This can be a tricky dispute to navigate, as these problems usually arise from one relative feeling taken advantage of or neglected. To diffuse the problem, let relatives know the truth why the trip can’t be made, whether it is due to a lack of money or a scheduling problem, and listen to suggestions as to how to rectify the situation.
9. Disagreements on how to handle chores:
Generally speaking, most children don’t exactly get excited about having to clean their room or help out with the dishes. However these are important duties that teach children a sense of responsibility. If a child refuses to do certain chores, calmly take away favored activities. This will help children understand that their responsibility to their family takes precedence over video games or other sources of entertainment.
10. Children showing disrespect towards members of the family:
Yelling, name-calling and acts of violence should never be tolerated. Before these behaviors worsen, children need to be disciplined and taught to understand that their behavior is unacceptable. If ignored, most children will begin to believe that treating others with disrespect is a normal way to react to unpleasant circumstances.
When solving family disputes, the most important thing is that all problems are approached with love. Each member of the family should be treated with understanding and compassion, instead of made to feel stupid or inadequate. Conflict and behavioral issues are usually due to hidden emotions and/or insecurities that need to be addressed before the problems can be diffused. When digging into the psychology of the issues, family members can gain the upper hand and help steer conflict into calmer and easier waters.
This guest article was written and submitted by Allison Gamble, a psychologydegree.net content writer. If you would like to write and submit an article to be published on Telling It Like It Is, please email me through the “contact” link at the top of the page.