Family conflict and fighting can happen as frequently as dishes pile up in my sink. And in my house, that would be every day! The dishes… that is.
As for the conflict part, my family’s learned a few things to keep the conflict monster at bay and keep our home an enjoyable place to live… on most days.
Let’s face it, several people with totally unique personalities all living under the same roof can be a breeding ground for fighting and bickering. Between the kids and in our marriages.
And every family is vulnerable to misunderstandings, mistakes, nagging, bickering, and even outright fighting. So how do we avoid living in a toxic family environment where bickering runs rampant and marital discord is an everyday thing?
My simple answer is, it all starts with a thought.
Well, I said “simple” but the truth is our thinking isn’t really that simple at all. I mean, how many thoughts did you just think in the last 5 minutes?!
We’re constantly thinking and judging everything (and everyone) around us and most of us have little to no discipline in how we think at all.
That’s because it’s hard!
But not impossible! Training your mind to think the right thoughts works like everything else in life. We must train our minds. And training your mind is no different than training your body. You need to stick with it and not stop. Ever.
Family Conflict Starts in the Mind First
What do I mean by “right” thoughts? In action, the right thoughts look for the best in that person and situation, they extend grace, and search out peaceful resolutions.
The “wrong” thoughts are those that instantly pop into your mind to soothe your feelings, maintain your pride, and protect your own agenda. The ones that encourage hurtful words and actions we’ll regret later.
The hard part is learning to reject the flooding, emotionally driven thoughts that destroy relationships, and instead produce those that restore and repair.
When you find yourself in conflict with someone in your home – whether it be your spouse or your children – I’ve put together this list of thought prompts, or better yet, questions to ask yourself in the moment of conflict.
These are also questions you should ask yourself when you’re tempted to dwell on the negative with the purpose of steering your mind toward positive resolution and peace.
If you want to have strong and healthy relationships with those in your family – you MUST learn to do this. But if you’re one of those moms who always responds in a loving, respectful, understanding way (all with a non-yelling voice) – you probably don’t need this.
I give you permission to ditch this post … but if you don’t – you owe it to yourself and your family to learn to work with conflict instead of against it.
That’s because families can’t avoid conflict. There will always be misunderstandings and disagreements that pop up, but we can be ready to think and respond in a way that dowses water on that rising flame!
Refer to this list often and make them a habit, so when a little fire pops up, you can stop and ask yourself these questions. And you’ll see such a major difference!
21 Questions to Stop a Fight
What’s really going on here?
Did he/she really mean it like it sounded?
Is there some information I’m missing here?
Is my response showing grace?
Am I looking at the situation from their viewpoint?
Have I attempted to put the shoe on the other foot?
When was the last time I did or said this very same thing?
Is my tone filled with accusations or compassion?
Am I attempting to isolate myself or press in closer to find a resolution?
Am I fighting for a win or fighting for peace?
Are my feelings and emotions rational or running wild?
If people I respected (outside of my family) were to hear my words, would I be embarrassed?
Am I expecting more from this person than they’re equipped to give?
Have I thought of ways to compromise?
Am I offering them the benefit of the doubt or jumping to conclusions?
Is there any good in this situation that I can focus on – no matter how small?
Is it really that big of a deal?
Am I playing the victim or looking for common ground?
Will I care about, or remember this in five years?
Am I letting love and grace lead my words or anger and disappointment?
Are there any questions I can ask to clarify any possible misunderstandings?
Do you have any more questions to add to the list? Or share in the comments below which question is your favorite.