Written by: Registered social workers, Chan Kam Hing and Mak Wai Hung
Have you ever experienced arguing with your family over trivial matters? When family members hold different opinions or perspectives, conflicts can easily arise, especially when it comes to decisions related to personal preferences, habits, values, and expectations. These conflicts can range from simple things like arguing over using the bathroom, choosing different TV shows to watch, or deciding how to celebrate a grandparent’s birthday, or deciding which tutoring center a child should attend. In reality, disagreements among family members are quite common, and occasional disputes can be a part of family life. However, continuous and ongoing arguments can lead to stress, damage relationships among family members, and even lead to family breakdown. You can try to ease conflicts through positive communication methods and consider the following approaches:
- When you’re very angry or unable to discuss things calmly, try to calm your emotions first. You can designate a calming space in your home in advance, where you can cool down, or find a spot near the door to compose yourself.
- After your emotions have settled a bit, consider whether it’s necessary or worth continuing to argue about the issue. Also, try to identify the root of the problem.
- Remind yourself that the ultimate goal is to resolve the issue and conflict, rather than trying to win over the other person. In a family, there’s no real glory in winning or losing against each other.
- Make an effort to actively listen to the other person’s perspective and avoid interrupting their speech. You can respond concisely to what you’ve heard or the message the other person is trying to convey at an appropriate time, showing that you’ve understood their point.
5. Then, you can express your stance sincerely, clearly, and reasonably. If there’s an opportunity or a need, you can discuss the areas of disagreement and find suitable solutions for both parties.
6. Avoid bringing up unrelated matters.
In fact, empathy is essential when living together as a family in such close quarters. Everyone hopes to receive respect, care, and mutual affection. Don’t underestimate the importance of family harmony. It can bring you mental contentment, stable emotions, sufficient energy to handle work, and gradually lead your life towards happiness and fulfillment.