All families experience conflict at some point or another. Though it can seem to stress the people involved, it's actually incredibly normal for families to fight ever so often. Like all relationships, communication is a crucial aspect of preventing conflict and putting a stop to constant fighting. Family arguments are completely normal, and sometimes you don't need to stop them altogether. It's how conflict is handled in a family that determines the health and wellness of everyone involved, and can prevent fighting and family arguments in the future.
You might wonder if there's anything you can do to break the cycle. In this article, we'll talk about tips for dealing with conflict in a productive way to prevent unhealthy patterns.
It can be hard to watch your parents fight. Even if they disagree, it can still make you feel upset and even anxious. However, it's important to remember that everyone argues from time to time. Even though they're fighting, it doesn't mean they're going to get a divorce or that they'll stay mad at each other for very long. They may occasionally say things they don't mean, but more often than not, it will pass.
If it bothers you when your parents argue, consider telling them how you feel. When people are emotional, they sometimes forget to be aware of how their conflict could affect them. Though you may be nervous to tell them how you feel, it allows them to reassure you and open up a healthy dialogue. If the fighting persists, finding healthy ways to cope can be a great way to protect your mental health. This could be as simple as removing yourself from situations when you feel uncomfortable or talking about it with another adult you trust.
Growing up isn't easy. Sometimes you may feel misunderstood or like your parents don't give you enough independence. If you often find yourself arguing with your parents, you need to explore where your anger is coming from. Nobody is perfect, and your parents are no exception. If you feel let down by a parent or like they aren't supportive of you, being able to talk about it with them in a calm state can help alleviate conflict in a healthy way. Bottling up your emotions can lead to more explosive arguments that are harder to work through as a family.
Sometimes it may seem like they're trying to stop you from living your life, but they may be afraid you're going to make a mistake that could hurt you in the long run. If they didn't try to protect you, then they wouldn't be very good parents, would they? Remember, your parents don't want to steal your joy or freedom. They want to make sure you won't get hurt, perhaps like they have been in the past.
Communication is key. When you talk to your parents about your feelings, you may find you're able to mend fences with them, so you get into fewer arguments. A respectful conversation will get you much closer to understanding each other. Explain how their actions made you feel, and be willing to compromise in ways that will help everyone involved feel respected and comfortable. If you don't feel safe confronting your parents about your feelings, consider speaking to a therapist, family member, or guidance counselor. By having someone who supports you in your corner, you may feel more confident and cope in healthy ways. Your safety is the number one priority.
Siblings frequently fight with each other. Being close in age often increases the likelihood of arguments. For the most part, siblings learn to get along as they get older. After all, it can be difficult to be around someone all day, every day. As mentioned above, personalities clash. People can be stubborn, especially during childhood. So, it is likely you will argue with your sibling every once and a while.
It's understandable if you lose patience with your sibling when they do something that bothers you (especially if it seems to happen often). However, rather than lashing out or raising your voice, you can expect better results by approaching the situation more productively. Talk to them. Explain how much their actions bother you, and they may see things your way.
Conflict isn't fun for anyone involved. By taking the initiative to talk about your feelings productively, you allow you and your sibling to find common ground. Having a sibling that supports you can make life more enjoyable, and being able to resolve disagreements effectively can help your bond grow stronger.
In addition to sharing your feelings with your family, learning to manage your anger can help reduce fighting. In the middle of a fight, it can be tough to control your anger. However, it can help to learn more constructive ways to release that anger before you end up in a situation where you feel like you're going to explode. Thankfully, there are many expert answers to how to stay calm when angry.
One sure way to release your anger is to get active. For instance, if someone does something that angers you, leave the house and talk a walk around the block. It's much better to release that anger through exercise, so you don't release it unproductively on someone else. By moving your body and removing yourself from a stressful situation, you're giving your nervous system the chance to adjust to your emotional state. This can also prevent you from doing or saying something that you don't mean at the moment. Once you feel calmer, you'll be better able to explain your feelings productively.
If you're not the type of releasing aggressive energy, you can also try a simple meditation. Find a quiet place where you can get away from everyone and relax. Then count to ten, breathing deeply through your nose on the inhale and out through your mouth on the exhale. Focus on the sound and feeling of your breathing and try to empty your mind. After a few short minutes, you'll feel calmer and more in control.
Tips for Reducing Family Fights
If you find you've been fighting with your family a lot recently, perhaps you need some space. Next time you find yourself in a heated conversation, take a step back and attempt to collect yourself. Many arguments start because someone says something hurtful in a burst of anger. It's easier to diffuse situations when everyone has enough time and space to think before speaking. The number one way to diffuse an argument is by simply stepping back and giving yourself and your family time to calm down.
It's also important to think about context when conflict arises. For example, emotions run high on holidays or during family events. Not only is the argument likely to spiral out of control because everyone's on edge, but an argument could also ruin the day, making it an unpleasant memory for everyone. It can be hard to sit on emotions when they bubble up, but you're more likely to reach the outcome you hope for if you pick an appropriate time to have a discussion.
When you're trying to resolve an argument, try to focus more on solutions than problems. Instead of trying to win the argument, work with the other person to think about ways to prevent a similar situation from occurring in the future. A great way to think of it is, "How can we win this together and strive towards the goal of understanding each other?" This way, you think of yourself and your family member as a team, working against the argument and towards a resolution.
Removing Toxic Family Members from Your Life
Although it's healthy and normal to fight with family from time to time, there comes the point when there are no more solutions. If the relationship has turned toxic, it may be better for you to cease contact with a particular family member. Here are some signs that you may be dealing with a toxic person:
Of course, dealing with a toxic family member is incredibly difficult when you live with that person. That doesn't mean there aren't ways to help make the environment less toxic until you move out.
First and foremost, it's important to understand who's creating the toxic environment. A lot of people don't realize how their actions might be affecting the situation. If you want to improve things, you may need to take some responsibility for your part of the problem. If, for example, you see any of the following in yourself, you may need to reevaluate how you're treating those closest to you:
If any of these traits describe you, you may be struggling with some mental health disorder. Speaking with a mental health professional can help you work through it.
BetterHelp Can Help
If you need support or advice, individual or family counseling might help you get along better with your family. BetterHelp has over 4,000 licensed therapists who are ready to help you work through any issues, so you can fight less and enjoy your time with your family. You'll be matched with a counselor based on your needs and personality, and you can meet with them online from the comfort of your own home or anywhere you have an internet connection.
Below, you'll find some reviews of BetterHelp counselors from people experiencing similar issues.
"Baruch has been helping me sort out issues in dealing with my elderly father, who was distant, very critical, and emotionally unavailable during my childhood and beyond. My father is currently verbally abusive to other family members in many instances and me. Baruch is wonderful. He has helped me with concrete and practical suggestions to help me deal with my father's immediate situation and a more in-depth analysis of the whys and wherefores of the past. Despite many years of difficulties with my father, he reminds me of all the positives in my adult life, which can be hard to focus on when feeling overwhelmed when dealing with crises in an elderly parent. I felt immediately at ease with Baruch at our first session. He is an amazing listener and responds with such clarity and insight. In just a few sessions, he has helped me greatly. Highly recommend!"
"Denae is a fantastic, warm-hearted counselor with much wisdom to impart. She's helped me deal with complex family and relationship issues. Ultimately, her brand of engaged listening and advice is uniquely effective for anyone needing help in life."
When multiple people live in the same household, it's unreasonable to expect them to agree on everything. Occasional arguments are normal, but it's not healthy or productive for family members to fight constantly. If you feel like you fight with your family all of the time, you may want to speak with a counselor. With the right tools, it's possible to live with your family without fighting all the time. Take the first step today.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Is it normal for families to argue all the time?
According to expert answers, it is normal for families to argue occasionally. This is because there are so many different personalities and communication styles in one household. However, if there are explosive arguments daily, this is not normal. If this is the case for your family, it may be time to evaluate how you can protect your mental health moving forward. If your family members are willing to work through issues effectively, you can find healthy ways to communicate to avoid conflict reaching a breaking point.
How do I stop arguing with my family?
Though conflict isn't always avoidable, you are in control of how you choose to approach it. By taking space, remaining calm, and doing your best to respect the people in your household, you have a better chance of preventing damaging arguments. Though it can be challenging to take the high road - especially if you're feeling strong emotions - doing so will protect your emotional wellbeing.
You can also try processing your emotions in other ways before opening up a discussion so you have a clear idea of what you're feeling. Try writing out why you're upset or taking time to speak to someone you trust that isn't involved in the argument. This kind of reflection allows you and your family members to work through the conflict in a healthy way.
What is the most psychologically damaging thing you can say to a family member?
One of the most psychologically damaging things you can say to a family member is, "I hate you." Whether you believe it or not, this statement can be detrimental to a person's self-esteem and be extremely hurtful. Sometimes anger causes people to want to say things that they don't mean. When you're in a moment of conflict with someone you love, it's important not to lash out and say things to try and hurt them.
What is a toxic sibling?
A toxic sibling is one that you cannot be around without them starting an argument. They may nitpick everything you do or say or make you feel like they don't support you. Keep in mind that there is a difference between a toxic sibling and a sibling with who you don't always get along. Creating space in your relationship may help you feel less drained by a toxic sibling, and opening up to them about how their actions affect you may help you create boundaries that protect your mental health.
What are the four causes of family conflict?
According to K. Lee Banks, author of "4 Causes of Family Conflict," the four causes of family conflict are finances, sibling rivalry, child discipline disagreements, and in-laws or extended family issues.
Finances are hard on everyone and can cause conflict between family members responsible for funding the household. Sibling rivalry and competition are very common, especially amongst children who are close in age. Next is child discipline, which can be a source of arguments between the two parents or the kids. When a child is disciplined, they can get angry with their parents. On the other hand, parents can disagree with how to discipline a child, which can also start arguments. Lastly, in-laws and extended family can be a common cause of arguments. Many people argue over their in-law's treatment of each other or behaviors.
How does an angry parent affect a child?
An angry parent can affect a child by lowering their self-esteem. Parents that lash out in anger can make a child feel anxious, frightened, and distant. When a child isn't sure how to communicate with their parents because they fear making them mad, the child can't develop properly. This can greatly hinder their emotional development and relationship skills.
In the long term, children who often see anger in their household are more likely to react similarly when faced with conflict in adulthood. It can be hard to learn effective communication skills if you're not exposed to them at a young age.
What do you do when your family hates you?
Sometimes it may feel like your family dislikes or even hates you. Though it may feel difficult at first, speaking to your family members about your feelings allows them to change their behavior and reassure you of their love for you. You may find that you learn more about your family by doing so and get to a place where you feel supported by them.
Abuse of any kind is not okay. If you feel at all unsafe at home, seeking out help is important. Tell a teacher, school counselor, or another trusted adult. You can also contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 to speak to someone privately at no cost to you.