You love your family, but you do not always get along. Parents and caregivers can be a lot of things. They can be your support and comfort. They can be your chauffeur and chef. They can be the person who delivers such bad jokes, you can’t help but laugh. When you can’t seem to get away from them, they can seem intrusive, annoying, and everywhere! You miss hanging out with friends and being able to get away when parents and caregivers are too much. Siblings can be your best friend or your mortal enemy...or both at the same time. As you look toward spending more time with your family, are you excited or dreading arguments and annoying siblings?
Being home with your family for an extended period of time can be difficult. We need to remember that everyone is experiencing this time in their own way.
Here are some tips and resources about working through conflict you may have with your family:
- Take some time to breathe. Sometimes we might say things in a harsher way when we are angry, so take some time to calm down and compose yourself before you engage in a potentially heated conversation. If you can’t calm down, go outside. A change in temperature and space might help.
- Make “I” statements, not “you” statements. Make an effort to start your sentences with “I feel” instead of “You did/said…” This will help you avoid accusations and will make your discussion a conversation instead of an argument.
- Try not to exaggerate. When we are upset, it’s easy to blame someone for “always” or “never” doing something. The other person is more likely to listen to and reason with you if you are saying true statements rather than exaggerating the situation.
- Focus on one issue at a time. If you are in conflict with someone about a lot of different things, address each of those issues separately. You’re much more likely to resolve those issues with the other person if you deal with them one at a time than if you bring up everything at once.
- Here is a great article from Scarleteen.com and the University of Texas:
- “How to Clash with Love: Some Conflict Resolution Basics”: https://www.scarleteen.com/article/relationships/how_to_clash_with_love_some_conflict_resolution_basics ·
- “Fighting Fair to Resolve Conflict”: https://cmhc.utexas.edu/fightingfair.html
Response for Teens recommends:
Breathe. Remember that everyone is under pressure right now and having to adjust to a new way of life. If space is tight, take a walk to cool off. Do not let grievances fester, however, deal with them when you can in a calm manner. Remember, your parents are probably experiencing a lot of emotions as well.