Last week was a rather intense one for The Busy Mom! It was spring break, and for the first time there were no mini-camps, family vacations or stay-overs with friends to keep all of the children apart. Because we had other major trips to prepare for, we decided to stay home this time around. My hope was for all of us to take the opportunity to get reconnected since this school year has been far busier than previous ones before it.
I was anticipating a week of calm and harmony; however it quickly proved to be quite a challenge having two teenagers, one soon-to-be preteen, and a toddler all under one roof night and day. There was no bloodshed, but there were times when the family unit became unraveled, and we all had to work our way back to being…..well, loving again.
When moments arise in the household where no one seems to be getting along, it is important to have some steps for action in place to get the family back to a more peaceful and happier state.
Here are 3 moves for managing family discord:
Give yourselves some space
When disagreements happen, the most important thing that needs to be done is for everyone to be allowed to get some ‘breathing room’ from each other. Whether it is done by each person going to separate rooms/areas of the house or by going outside of the house, the worst thing that can happen is to force everyone to settle their differences immediately. Why? Because the words/behaviors may not be genuine: it’s just being done to satisfy the enforcer so that they can get away from each other!
Give time for each person to settle their emotions before discussions are held; and never set deadlines or time limits—doing so will only intensify the situation and may even make things worse. Keep in mind that although you are family, each person is different. Only attempt to talk things over when everyone in the family is ready.
Change to a different environment
When everyone is ready to talk, hold the discussion somewhere outside the home. It can be a park, a family-friendly restaurant, or even the home of another family member. A change of environment will ease some of the remembrances of the pain and anger of what took place, which may help the conversation go more smoothly. It will also relieve some of the tension and aid in moderating actions and emotions.
Make a note of it
A great move to managing family discord is to require that all family members involved have pen and paper with them to jot down notes of both the discussion and the emotions and statements expressed from the other family members. This:
- Breaks the flow of the conversation to reduce the chances of further escalation
- Gives each person a visual. Sometimes things are better absorbed and understood when they are read rather than just heard.
- Helps with remembering all that was discussed, plus serves as a reference to avoid or minimize discord in the future.
Managing family discord can be very rewarding, yet there may be times when it can prove to be very challenging. Keep in mind that although we would love for our families to be harmonious all of the time, this is still the real world. As much as we would like for every disagreement to be worked out, sometimes it just can’t be. In those instances, it is best to do what you can to make peace within yourself about the matter so that you can move on and resume your roles in the family. You just might find that this act is the greatest way to manage family discord of all.
Have you ever tried any of the ‘moves’ above? What was the outcome? Do you have your own ‘moves’ for managing family discord? Share with me below or tell me about it at: firstname.lastname@example.org.