lessons in domestic diplomacy
It happens every night when parents start to discuss how to distribute tasks of their live while in social distance. Who’s waking up early with the kids? Who’s responsible for home schooling? What do you mean you forgot to pick up the toilet paper? May be than she will cross her arms and stare at the ceiling. He will throw up his hands and raise his voice. Finally, one of them will storm out of the room.
Children, meanwhile, creatively develop their own ritualized fights. Your dessert is bigger! It’s my day to go to the bathroom first. Liar! Houses tend to become to a combat zone. There must be a better way, you may ask yourself. YES, there is!
You can learn to improve how you fight as a family. Anyway: All families have conflicts. Those who control and manage these conflicts can make their family happier. There are tools that can help make peace between battling parties, including sibling and spouses.
Let’s highlights a few key areas where families need to be careful:1. HELLOS AND GOOD-BYES.
Whenever you’re coming or leaving, family members are especially vulnerable to escalated emotions, according to Chicago psychologists Reed Larson and Maryse Richards. Being aware of this, and avoiding addressing any conflicts during these times, will greatly lessen the likelihood of a controversial and unproductive argument erupting. There is always a better moment to talk it out. 2. BE AT EYE LEVEL WITH YOUR LOVED ONES.
Neither loom over nor be perceived as sitting beneath your partner in any argument. Doing so makes sure that you neither appear too dominant nor too passive in the conflict. It will lead to a more cooperative environment, if you try to understand the other side’s needs, even when they are very young of age. If you really want to signal your willingness to collaborate with your family members, try sitting beside one another, not opposite. 3. MODERATE THE TONE OF YOUR VOICE AND LISTEN ACTIVELY.
Always moderate the tone of your voice to make sure you are not speaking too loudly or too softly but rather firmly and earnestly so that your partner perceives your readiness to work together as a team towards a mutual agreement. Do not be too harsh nor too soft when addressing your concerns and always be aware of the interest of the other family members. Test your understanding by summarizing and of course keep your eyes on the final result, which is a solution to the dispute that leaves both parties satisfied.4. GO TO THE BALCONY AND TAKE A NEW PERSPECTIVE.
William Ury, member of HARVARD University’s Program of Negotiation and co-author of “Getting Past No” suggests, that during the most heated arguments it is often best for you to mentally ‘go to the balcony’ or remove yourself from the situation in order to take a wider perspective of the conflict. When engaged in a heated argument, it is often too easy to become lost in micro details. By removing yourself from this, you give yourself the opportunity to approach the problem in new ways.5. TAKE A BREAK AND CALM DOWN.
In the most heated family disputes, it is advisable that both sides take a break from their discussions, when things look like they may become too chaotic or that the talks may lose track. Take a deep breath, calm down and rewind the tape after a cup of coffee. Sometimes it could be helpful to postpone the discussion to a quiet moment.6. SAY “I’M SORRY!” AND APOLOGIZE.
Apologies have two functions in conflict resolution: demonstrating your regret and taking responsibility for the consequences of your actions. So, don’t hesitate to say “I’m sorry!”. No matter the dispute, it is often necessary for someone to take the lead in pursuing collaborative change. It is often easier to take the lead when your partner realizes you are both willing to admit mistakes and take responsibility for those mistakes.
Picture: Jutta Portner