For many parents, maintaining peace in their families is a priority. But actually making it happen can be a monumental challenge. Everyone has their own ideas for what they want to do, so maintaining a cohesive family unit can feel like herding cats.
Fortunately, there are a set of remarkably simple rules you can use to maintain the peace in your family. Try them yourself!
Accept That Conflict Is a Part of Family Life
A lot of us go into family life with the implicit assumption that conflict should never arise. This attitude, however, is harmful and unrealistic. When things inevitably go wrong, we come away believing that something is intrinsically wrong. And that’s where the real problems start.
The issue here isn’t with the conflict itself, but our expectations of what family life should be. In most life areas, we go into them with a realistic sense of what they will be like. If we take a job as a CEO of a failing company, we know it’s going to be stressful. But when we become parents, we imagine something different. That’s not the case at all.
Avoid Accusing People of Perpetual Wrongdoing
Labeling people in your family as “always lazy” or “never helpful” is a bad idea. It escalates tensions and, sometimes, leads to issues that require the intervention of a criminal law firm.
Ideally, you want to stay away from phrases that accuse people of perpetual wrongdoing and focus on healthier ways of expressing your grievances.
The best approach is to focus on the facts in the here and now. Instead of saying, “you never put the dishes away in the dishwasher,” say something like, “you haven’t put the dishes away in the dishwasher”.
Be Forgiving of the Human Condition
Most of us grow up with parents who do their best to meet all our needs. If we’re hungry, they bring us food. If we’re tired, they read us a bedtime story. If we’re sick, they tend to us at our bedside.
Thus, we grow up with the impression that other people should serve us the moment we’re in need. But that’s not how modern family life works. Regardless of emotional intention, practical considerations like jobs and housework get in the way. And we can often wind up feeling a little neglected.
The trick here is to be more accepting of the human condition. Spouses and other family members can’t be the perfect parents. And they can’t know the contents of your mind at all moments in time. Being mindful of that fact can make you more forgiving.
Brainstorm to Solve Problems
Brushing long standing family problems under the rug is rarely a sustainable solution. Ideally, you want to work through issues and find ways to make people as content as possible.
Brainstorming with your partner and kids, therefore, can be a great way to resolve conflict maturely. This method allows each person to invent win-win situations where everyone will be better off. The approach helps to get rid of the win-lose atmosphere that can dominate many families.