God ordained the family,
the first institution for order man has known!
It does not matter how hard we may try to avoid having a confrontation with someone, even with ourselves, there will be conflicts. This is a situation which takes place all the time with others or within ourselves. Conflicts normally occur when people are in close proximity of each other. There will always be differences and tempers will rise. However, any situation can be resolved without causing animosities. Keep in mind that a soft answer always drives away wrath (Proverbs 15:1).
Holding Family Conference
There are ways in which we can resolve problematic situations to avoid causing hurt to others or ourselves. Nonetheless, when conflicts arise, we should do everything in our power to de-escalate its appearance. Although we cannot always avoid conflicts, yet we should make every effort to prevent it becoming destructive. Since some conflicts can be constructive, we should look for the most important aspects in the dispute to work on so that peace can be restored and create harmony among our family members.
While we may say that we are tired of being at home we can use this time of quietness to bring the family together to discuss what is happening in the environment.
Begin by listening to each other, and asking questions to obtain understanding about hurts, and disputes and find solutions.
Share differences and concerns, and be honest with yourself and those around you.
How does Conflict Begins?
Conflict usually occurs between individuals and groups. Whether those persons live together or work together. There is no particular setting for conflict to take place. Similar to fire which needs oxygen and fuel; conflict needs people with differences of opinions and who have needs. However, it only takes a moment to listen to each other and learn about differences that will improve communication and generate respect in the family.
With the present situation being faced by the entire world, family members may find themselves in disputes because of misunderstandings and miscommunications. It is not that individuals do not love or care for each other; but nerves are frayed. People face an uncertain future with no real answers concerning what will happen next! There is fear and all kinds of emotions are being expressed.
Think the right thoughts
When conflict occurs, frequently, it is not so much the issues or the nature of the conflict; but rather, the level of communication and different styles being used by individuals. Therefore, listen to yourself before trying to fix others. How do you feel about your family? Is there a member who affects you more and whom you would rather not have to speak with? How much thought have you given to this situation? Are your thoughts about this person genuine? When did you start feeling this way about him/her? These are important factors to take into consideration before making a scene and shouting at one another. Maybe the problem is you and your negative thoughts about the individual or the way you assess an event which took place maybe years ago.
The fact that presently, everyone seems to be in a place of uncertainty, there is hardly anyone who can help the other. The main thing to do is to listen to one’s mind. Before you do, read these words from Philippians 4:8:
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
Think about the statements you heard, before making decisions about a conflict situation.
It only takes a slight misunderstanding or a casual word for conflict to occur. Begin to listen to each other and show respect by treating each other equally the way you want to be respected and treated.
What are the things coming into your consciousness concerning the incident with your spouse, or family member? Are those ideas true? Take a moment to listen. You may need to write some things down for clarity and further explanations. From these inner searches, you may need to make some adjustments with your communication style or your perception of past events or individuals.
Always look at yourself first before trying to fix another person. This is a form of taking care of the “I” situation rather than the “you” discrepancies. You may find that the statement was not so damaging after all. It might be more helpful than you first thought. Listen, listen, listen!
Tips to Help you Manage Conflicts
There are many techniques which individuals can use to manage conflicts. For example, if you are not sure of what you heard, ask questions. Learn to listen carefully, and make sure you understand what the other person said.
James 1:19 states “… let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:…”
Listen first, then make sure you heard the other person. Do not analyze words, or phrases, and then go after the person.
If you are not certain of what you thought you heard:
Re-frame and paraphrase for clarity and understanding.
When you are not sure; non-threateningly, ask questions such as: “Did I hear you say…?”
This is your family [spouse, sibling, friend]. The present situation will pass, and you will need each other throughout life.
Deal with misunderstandings by following the guidelines below.
- Allow each person to speak.
- Be patient and encourage silence. It is important to encourage the other person to talk in order to incite communication.
- Use body language, eye contact, with smiles and nodding to emphasize active listening.
- Carefully, and respectfully point out key issues, and summarize so that there is clear understanding of the situation, to avoid ambiguities.
- Do not call each other names or make statements such as:
- “You never…”
- “I knew you would have said that.”
- “You were always“
- Do not bring up past hurts because you are all hurting at this time.
- Be patient with one another.
- Learn to listen before acting.
- Try to get to know each other afresh.
- Play games.
- Laugh a lot at each other and with each other without animosities. This pandemic does not have to control your entire life unless you will allow it. What you cannot change concerning the distancing, you can change at home by being loving and kind to each other.
When this pandemic is over, make sure that you will still have each other.
Pay Attention to Non-verbal Communication
The way how we feel about something or each other can be read through the body language which speaks volumes. When we disagree with someone, we do not have to speak to show our disagreement.
Some non-verbal cues:
- We ignore the person.
- Raised eyebrows.
- Slouching, folding of the arms, and a certain look.
- We give the silent treatment.
- In-congruence in communication: Saying one thing while meaning another.
- Being disrespectful by shouting and banging doors
- Being angry at each other for no apparent reason.
- Lack of self-control – use calmness, and patience.
Lack of self-control, mis-understandings and miscommunication will destroy any relationship.
Let us help you!
Learn to respect yourself, and you will respect others.
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