Conflict happens in every family. And while it is completely normal, it is important to deal with conflict in a healthy way. If you find that your conversations around family issues lead to yelling or slamming doors, it may be time to evaluate your communication methods. Talking in circles or playing the blame game fuels tension and the focus becomes who is right instead of finding a solution to the problem.
Communicating Without Blame
Good communication is the foundation of a healthy relationship. When you are able to communicate effectively, you build trust and feel supported.
- Use “I” Statements: An “I” statement is a style of communication that focuses on the feelings or beliefs of the speaker rather than thoughts and characteristics that the speaker attributes to the listener. For example, if your teen isn’t cleaning their room after you’ve asked them multiple times, instead of saying “You still haven’t cleaned your room. You’re so irresponsible!” You can try, “I feel disrespected when I have to ask you multiple times to clean your room.”.
- Take Responsibility: It’s easy to feel defensive during an argument. Despite feeling frustrated in the moment, in most conflicts, there is fault on both sides. Instead of putting all the blame on the other person, take a moment to think about how your actions or behaviors may have contributed to the conflict. Admitting that you may have played a role in the problem helps the other person feel like they’re not just being attacked for their mistakes.
- Approach Conflict with a Problem Solving Attitude: Instead of focusing on how you are right and your teen is wrong during conflict, think about how you can come up with a solution that will make both parties feel heard and supported. When we get caught up in who is right, it leaves no room for moving forward towards a solution.
- Take a Break: Not every conflict is going to be solved in the moment. If emotions are getting high and one person is placing blame on the other, take a break. You can have an understanding in your family if at any time a conflict becomes counterproductive, you are always welcome to take a break to de-escalate and come back to the conversation when everyone feels more calm and ready to find a solution.
- Seek Help: While it would be nice to be able to solve all of our problems on your own, there may be times when you need to seek outside help. If your family is unable to resolve conflict and you find yourselves in the cycle of arguments and blame, a family therapist can help. A trained mental health professional can help your family identify areas of conflict and work with you to build healthy communication skills to work through those issues in the future.
Solstice RTC Can Help
Our mission is to support adolescents and their families in developing excellence in relationships, influence, character, and health throughout their life journey. Through relationship-based programming, we help students restore and rebuild healthy, close relationships with their families, peers, and staff.
Family therapy interventions are at the heart of our clinical program. We firmly believe in the strong nature and immense importance of family relationships. Research studies on the effectiveness of residential treatment indicate that the most significant factor in creating positive long-term outcomes for the child is parental involvement in the treatment process. Parental involvement is defined not only by the parents being actively involved in the child’s treatment but being actively involved in their own treatment and growth process. For more information please call (866) 278-3345.