Let’s face it, every family fights. Some families fight hot, with heated arguments, and some families fight cold, with the silent treatment. While some families seem perfect on the outside, we all struggle with conflict.
We’ve recently begun our Future Family series at Connexus and we’re getting lots of great feedback of how it’s helping you at home. In week 3 of our Future Family series, Andy Stanley begins to address the challenges of a family conflict and how to handle them. If you haven’t joined us, you don’t want to miss this coming Sunday.
Personally, I know a family fight can cause me to lose my way, to get too emotionally wrapped up in the conflict to think clearly. When you are in that moment, here are 4 compass questions that may help you find our way out.
Will I win the argument but lose the relationship?
Sometimes we can get so caught up in winning the fight, that we lose an important part of the relationship. Are you fighting with your family or for your family? While hard conversations are sometimes necessary, it’s important that as a parent you chose to communicate in a way that gives the relationship value. Be sure that you aren’t tearing down the relationship for the sake of proving that you are right, or in charge. In the long run, a relationship will always matter more than winning an argument.
Is there an unhealthy, personal need to get my own way?
So often we can get caught up in getting your own way. We can often feel like things would be better if we were in charge. Maybe you spend part of your day at work being the boss? Or you spend much of your day wishing you were the boss? This can sometimes spill over into our own life – we want control. But is a personal, and sometimes irrational, need to get your own way fueling the conflict?
6 months from now, will this still matter?
Sometimes we can end up having conflict over things that really matter – substance abuse, poor friendships, disengagement from school. But, sometimes we can get into conflict over things that matter less – eating peas, wearing rubber boots, or loading the dishwasher. Sometimes it’s important that we get perspective on whether the level of emotion is healthy when compared to the level of importance of the issue at hand. A poor choice in friends will affect my child in 6 months, a poor choice in footwear won’t.
What is ugly about this conflict and how much of it do I own?
It can be a hard thing to do in the moment, but if you can take a deep breath and look in the mirror to reflect on what you own in the conflict, it can sometimes give you perspective. An ability to own your part in a conflict is not only healthy, but it can often take the air out of the balloon and create space for people to begin a dialogue.
What other questions help you when you are in the midst of a family conflict?