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Steps to Resolve Family Conflict


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Steps to Resolve Family Conflict

Most families have conflicts, therefore it’s helpful to learn about dealing with family conflict if we really want things to work, and then so take steps to resolve family conflict for a happy family and a better life.

Common family issues are something that are inevitable, and so are disagreements a normal part of any relationship. These happen when people have different beliefs, needs, or ways of working – that clash. But if remedial steps are not undertaken, such conflicts begin to harm relationships at home.

While relationships in our family give us joy and support, these relationships can also bring us stress, especially when we don’t know how to cope with family stress.

I have often noticed common family issues trouble few of my relatives and friends, and such conflicts have always caused bitterness in their relationships, if they did not make efforts to resolve them – of course if it was possible.

I however, consider myself lucky to have a beautiful family free from any kinds of conflicts, where my loving father who’s always been my pride and mother who meant the world to me – always tried to become better parents by teaching us family values that hold so strong.

Whenever there were petty differences in our family, or arguments and fights with my sister, we made sure they were resolved in no time and we were back together once again.

“My long experience has taught me to resolve conflict by raising the issues before I or others burn their boats.” ~ Alistair Grant

What is a Family Conflict?

The definition goes as follows :

It is any conflict that occurs among members of a family – such as, parent and children, husband and wife, among siblings, or the extended family like aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc.

In short, family conflict is a strong disagreement or disharmony between members of a family.

Every family is made up of many unique individuals with their own personalities, each with a range of opinions and thoughts about every subject and situation. In such cases family conflicts are bound to occur, and it’s also the natural and healthy progression of any relationship.

According to many psychologists, a certain amount of family conflict is healthy, rather than no conflict at all, which indicates a problem in itself.

However, when the fighting intensifies or such common family issues start impacting your happiness and causing stress in the family, effecting your daily functioning or the personality of one or more family members, and when nothing seems to be able to resolve the family problems, then outside intervention or counseling becomes necessary.

Common Causes of Family Conflict

In order to understand the steps to resolve family conflict, you need to understand the stages a family goes through that can cause conflict. Some of the stages include:

  • Adjusting and learning to live as a new couple.
  • Birth of a baby.
  • Birth of other kids.
  • A child beginning school.
  • A child growing to become a young person.
  • A young person becoming an adult.

Each of these stages may create new and different stresses and conflicts. And changes in the situations can also take a toll on the family, which contributes to and causes family conflicts. This may include events like:

  • Separation or divorce.
  • Clash of egos.
  • Friction among family members.
  • No happiness in the family.
  • Lack of communication among family members.
  • Disagreements on bringing up children.
  • Lack of family time and togetherness.
  • A child or teenager asserting his or her independence.
  • Children showing disrespect towards family members.
  • Frequent disagreements among siblings.
  • Dispute on whom or how to handle chores.
  • Difference of opinion over career direction, land disputes, or transfer of property.
  • Difference in age, gender, and culture between family members.
  • Moving to a new location, like a new house or country.
  • Travelling long distance to work, or commuting interstate for work.
  • Change in financial conditions, division of income, or disagreements over money.
  • Needs or requirements of one or both partners that don’t get met.
  • Meddling or nosy relatives. They may visit or stay too long, call and talk too often on the phone, and try to tell you how to live your life.

There could be innumerable other common family issues and situations, though the one important thing to be kept in mind while dealing with such conflicts in general is that all problems should be approached with love and understanding, which greatly helps to resolve them all.

Remember that conflicts and behavioral issues occur due to hidden emotions or/and insecurities that family members may have, which need to be tackled before the problem can be diffused.

Need to Resolve Family Conflict

Family conflicts affect each one of us differently as our families are different, and so is the personality of each family member.

Generally, conflicts in your life affect you emotionally as well as physically, where unresolved issues overtake your life and affect everyone around you.

For some families conflict may start with a specific event like a death or divorce, while for others it may be caused by many little things that keep piling up and are not resolved.

Sometimes conflicts in a family may result in the ending of a relationship because one or both partners become too irritated with their failure to be heard, and to settle their differences once and for all.

If partners don’t know how to resolve problems between them, such conflicts can last in a relationship for decades, sitting quietly below the surface waiting to explode. Eventually, these conflicts erode away the well-being and trust that people have for one another.

“You will only be remembered for two things: the problems you solve or the ones you create.” ~ Dr. Mike Murdock

If we don’t know how to resolve family conflict, it can adversely affect our health and cause us stress by impacting our sleep and appetite.

You may experience anger, irritation, annoyance, anxiety, nervousness, sadness, depression, feeling of powerlessness, and a fear about dealing with uncertainty or the future. There may also be physical complaints like headaches or digestive problems.

If your kids are skipping school or scoring poor grades, abusing alcohol or using drugs, and not behaving normally, these are a sure sign that something is wrong.

Negotiate to Resolve Family Conflict

When you are dealing with family conflict, you need to be willing to negotiate and try to patch up with each another. This however isn’t the case always, as normally your first angry impulse is to prove your point and win the argument anyhow.

“The greatest conflicts are not between two people but between one person and himself.” ~ Garth Brooks

If both parties and different family members have solid egos and stubbornly stick to their viewpoints, it is tough to resolve family conflict. But it helps if everyone as a family decides to listen to one other and negotiate instead.

A few suggestions to negotiate include:

  • Try to separate the problem from the person, and learn to identify and accept the problem.
  • If you are angry, try to cool off first to talk in a clear, calm, honest, and reasonable manner.
  • Remind yourself that you want to resolve family conflict, not try to win the argument.
  • Chalk out if the issue is worth fighting over, and then be willing to compromise.
  • Learn to pay attention and listen by respecting and acknowledging the other person’s view point. Don’t interrupt while the other person is speaking.
  • Keep in mind that the other person may not always agree to all that you say.
  • Stick to the solution that’s decided on, and make sure it’s clear to everyone.

Dealing with family conflict in a constructive and positive manner tackles the issue at hand and eases communication, which makes it simpler to deal with any such events that may happen in the future.

“Whenever you’re in conflict with someone, there is one reason that can make the difference between damaging your relationship and deepening it. That factor is attitude.” ~ William James

Steps to Dealing with Family Conflict

Although there is no magic wand or perfect formula to sort out all the mentioned problems, a few steps and guidelines are suggested to help tackle such events.

  • Assess if the conflict is worth addressing

If you want to resolve common family issues, you need to first decide if the conflict in hand is worth addressing or not.  You must deal with recurring or major issues to reduce the negative impact of conflict and argument.

If you feel the family conflict is over a trivial issue or some minor difference, then the best way to resolve it may be is to just leave it alone, and let everyone calm down after sometime.

  • Include all family members

While dealing with family conflict, it is essential for all members to be involved in trying to find ways to resolve your conflict by working together.

Family members can help out by gathering information from libraries, bookstores, Internet, or by reading articles on various common family issues – especially on topics like raising kids, marriage, or dealing with and understanding teenagers.

Sometimes there are frequent or repeated issues that are the cause of family conflict, for which you have to make a plan to resolve it together by working on one issue at a time.

“We belong to each other.” ~ Mother Teresa

You should not forget to include all family members who will be affected by it; as such issues can be reviewed often and used as a model while trying to resolve family conflict that may occur in the future.

  • Improve yourself to react positively

You need to get hold of yourself by improving your ability to react positively to circumstances, and remember to be realistic in your expectations.

Take deep breaths or walk away to calm yourself, which also gives you time to think and retrospect before reacting.

  • Make sure all communication channels are open

Learn the art of communicating effectively like allowing each person to voice his or her thoughts without interrupting, and chalk out how you would talk about conflicting issues.

While working towards resolving the common family issues, watch your words and language, and use a soft, gentle, and friendlier tone that reduces the hostility of what you want to convey. Learn to improve the relationship with kindness.

“Any problem, big or small, within a family, always seems to start with bad communication. Someone isn’t listening.” ~ Emma Thompson

Don’t use you-statements, instead use I-statements, as they sound less accusing and you are able to take the responsibility for the statement on yourself.

Also, avoid calling names as they are inflammatory and only add more fuel to the fire by making the other person angry, thereby intensifying the conflict.

Communicate with your children without turning conflicts into lectures and punishments, and never forget that poor communication leads to relationship problems.

Ask them their feelings, as being parents you may be surprised to discover how unloved or/and unfairly treated your kids may feel.

Without coming to the rescue of your kids, encourage them to find solutions to their conflicts without taking any sides.

Avoid choosing a side to agree with when dealing with family conflict, as this leads to more fighting and conflicts. Instead, listen calmly, be understanding, be indifferent, and let the involved people work out the problem on their own.

If you do have a solution to resolve family conflict that your family members are facing, then offer it by remaining neutral. Remember, if you don’t remain neutral and choose sides, you become a part of the family conflict too.

  • Resolve through mediation and counseling

Mediation helps a great deal while dealing with family conflict, though you can even resolve issues without bringing in a neutral third party.

Such resolutions can be done by mediation from a person who is a qualified professional like a family or marriage therapist, provided the other member is ready to discuss the issue and wants to find a resolution.

When nothing seems to work and issues start affecting your mental and physical health, counseling may be the answer to help you with methods or ways to deal with family conflict.

  • Learn to forgive, forget, and let go

If you are not able to find answers to resolve the common family issues and they are having a negative affect on your health, then it’s better to try to forgive and forget the other person, and move on in life.

Forgiving means that you let go your feelings of anger and resentment towards the person involved, and this will benefit you in the long run.

To let go may refer to either letting go of the relationship that you can no longer carry on with, or it may refer to letting go of the need for you to be heard and understood.

However, as a last-choice resort, if you think that things are beyond repairs and if the person was abusive and there is no reason to expect anything from him/her in the future, it’s best to cut off total contact altogether by breaking up and moving on in life.

“Instead of suppressing conflicts, specific channels could be created to make this conflict explicit, and specific methods could be set up by which the conflict is resolved.” ~ Albert Low.

If there are any family conflicts that I have within my family, which happens rarely where my kids or husband are concerned, I prefer choosing to resolve them by forgiving, forgetting, and letting go.

I feel life is too short to cry over petty issues, when instead we should all be living it to the fullest by being loving and understanding towards each another.

Do you also wonder how to resolve family conflict? What measures would you suggest while dealing with family conflict? Share your experiences about what you did or steps you took to resolve common family issues in the comments below.

 

Photo Credit: Photostock



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About Harleena Singh

Harleena Singh is a positive thinker and a freelance writer. She loves to write inspiring and thought provoking posts on self-improvement, family, relationships, health, and other aspects of life. She's not another personal development guru, but just an average person with great life experiences. She's also a blogger, who loves to share her blogging knowledge and experiences. Network with her on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+..

92 Comments

  1. Vidya Sury

    March 23, 2012 at 9:50 pm

    Epic post, Harleena!

    I believe that we have only one life – why not live it well. While conflict is inevitable, the world would be a much better place if people decided to resolve it and live in harmony and peace. Some conflict is healthy – in that it promotes the understanding of different points of view. But when it gets out of hand, that is when it makes life difficult for everyone.

    Loved the quotes throughout the post, Harleena. Happy day to you!

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      Harleena Singh

      March 23, 2012 at 10:28 pm

      Glad you liked the post Vidya!

      Sorry for the length (guess at times it just can’t be helped!)

      Nice to know that we share common thoughts about life and believe that we have only this one life, and should live it well and to the fullest. Yes indeed, most of our problems would lessen a great deal if there was more peace and harmony in the world, and among ourselves and our families.

      Having a little conflict her and there is always healthy, just as you mentioned, as it enables you to understand the other person better. However, it shouldn’t really get out of hand or extend too long, which would only cause more bitterness on both sides.

      The answer of course lies in resolving the issues that arise, if possible. But yes, sometimes the conflicts become so unbearable that it may be better to call it a day, though that should be the last resort.

      You know by now how much I love quotes, and love to share them with my readers. :)

      Thanks so much for stopping by, it’s always a pleasure to have you over.

      Have a nice weekend. :)

  2. Rajendranath Mehrotra

    March 24, 2012 at 1:07 am

    Since ‘no two persons’ on this earth can be exactly same, it is but natural that their way of thinking will also differ.
    Just learning to respect ‘differences and enjoying similarities’ can do the magic. Positive ‘attitude’ is core of everything and in my personal opinion, meaning of communication “means” to form a flawless ‘Mirror Image’ of your thought processes in the mind(s) of the person(s) with whom you want to communicate but is practically ‘Impossible’.

    We all know that in the processes of communication, every part of our body (from the hairs of the head to toe nails) speaks including thought processes going in our minds. Forming a mirror image in the mind(s) of others is not easy as mental level of each person(s) is not the same.

    Arguments (One of the worst enemy of human kind) have destroyed more families than the total casualties of of ‘World Wars’ and hence if we learn to apply ‘breaks’ the moment it starts, more than 90% of problems get resolved immediately. It is not very difficult too, only thing we have to practice is …”controlling the reaction” by delaying it for “few seconds only”.

    The second biggest enemy is ‘Ego’ but ‘No person on this earth can be without any ‘Ego’. It is essential for self improvement too but it is like walking on double edged sword.

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      Harleena Singh

      March 25, 2012 at 10:34 am

      What you’ve said is really an extension of what the post conveys Rajendranath!

      You’ve nicely emphasized and clarified few important aspects that can play an effective role in avoiding conflicts: acknowledging and respecting individual differences, having a positive attitude, and improving the process of communication. I totally agree that if we control our initial reactions, we would really observe a decline in the conflicts that we have in families.

      Avoiding that crucial conflict moment can really avoid the whole potential conflict altogether and one tip would be to move away from the place of conflict or divert attention by taking deep breaths or as the Chinese say – make you face wooden – to let the conflict moment pass by and not let the negative emtions affect you.

      If we do not have ego, we won’t any longer be humans – we become super humans. But having an ego is not wrong as far as you do not let it negatively inflate so as to avoid its clashes with other people.

      Thanks for stopping by. :)

      • Rajendranath Mehrotra

        March 25, 2012 at 5:28 pm

        Thank you very much. Every human being is born with an “I” ness in him / her and this ” I” ness only is called as ‘Ego’. It is extremely important for self development as even your ‘Attitude’ is also based on this.

        “Id” Ego is something which we all should nourish and develop. It is something like, If you are watching a game of your interest and you have a special feeling for ‘one of the playing team’. You feel like you have won the game if the team of your choice wins and you share this ‘Happiness’ with as many as possible.

        Bud is ‘over inflated or so called SUPER EGO’ which is an extension of inferiority complex. Under the influence of this ‘Ego’, you think yourself either superior to everyone or try to find out imaginary weaknesses in other persons only to prove that He/ She is not good as others say.

        The ‘wooden face’ proverb is from Indian ‘Rig veda’ (some parts of this Veda are older than 8000 years, but all the researchers have unanimously agreed that this Veda is at least 4000 BCE old) taken to China by Buddhist monks.

        Indian yoga culture says to ‘Breath In and Out’ deep and heavy 5 times and you will cool down ‘no matter what the situation is’.

        With due respect,
        Mehrotra

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          Harleena Singh

          March 26, 2012 at 8:57 pm

          Nice explanation of ‘Ego’, which at times is one of the main causes of conflict between individuals!

          History is sometimes deceptive. It doesn’t really matter much whether the proverb is originally Chinese, Indian, or American; what’s significant is its helpful meaning and relevance in situations of conflict.

          Deep breathing certainly has a subduing effect over anger and anxiety, and I’m sure it is practised the world over.

          Thanks for stopping by. :)

  3. Ilka Flood

    March 24, 2012 at 1:55 am

    Hi Harleena,

    Great advice, thanks for sharing it! It’s impossible to live in a family and always have the sun shine upon you. There will be rain clouds and yes, at times there will also be thunder and lightning.

    What I’ve learned throughout the years in raising our 3 sons….Always keep the lines of communication open. Forgive, forget and let go. Love one another unconditionally ….and Mom is always right. (Just kidding!)

    You can be right, or you can be happy!

    Great article again, Harleena!

    All the best,

    Ilka

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      Harleena Singh

      March 24, 2012 at 2:12 am

      Glad you could resonate to the post Ilka!

      You are absolutely right! It is indeed tough to always have the sun shining, especially when you live in a family. I liked what you said about ‘thunder and lightening’- lol…so true! I guess at times those are needed also for creating a balance. :)

      Words of wisdom indeed- and so very true! Keeping your channels open, whether with your kids, spouse, or other family members is the key factor I feel to make relationships work. But yes, this is again something most family members don’t realize and get caught in their egos.

      It does get tough at times to forgive and forget, but then to move on and start another day with your family, you do need to let go of the past. That’s the only way to proceed further to new beginnings- isn’t it?

      Moms is always right (most of the time I guess!!), though dads are right too at times :)

      And yes, you really can’t be right and be happy where kids are concerned! Sometime it works, while at other times it doesn’t- guess you really need to create a balance.

      Thanks so much for stopping by and adding more value to the post. :)

  4. Deeone Higgs

    March 24, 2012 at 2:25 am

    Hi Harleena,

    This was very insightful. I love so many things about blogging. One of those things being; how we are able to share such things as thought on values, beliefs, and traditions. It offers us to be able to see similar scenarios from different viewpoints; and also helps us to better understand one another.

    I think in the time of family conflict, as long as there is someone with a level head that thinking clearer than anyone else in the conflict; the conflict itself won’t have the foundation to stand on. However, when all the parties involved are in a bad place; there needs to be time apart to calm down first. After everyone is calm, regroup and get into a family natural setting, and talk about it. Communication does wonders.

    However, talking over one another is not recommended. Nothing ever gets resolved that way. :)

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful post with us, Harleena. I enjoyed every moment of it. And of course, loved the quotes. ;)

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      Harleena Singh

      March 24, 2012 at 1:34 pm

      Glad you found the post insightful Deeone!

      That’s indeed the best part of blogging- to be able to share and learn more from each other about so many things that we didn’t know earlier about. We are able to relate to one another and share our viewpoints, which enhances our learning and understanding.

      You do need kind of a mediator within a family, or whom you may call as a level headed person to sort out the problems or conflicts within the family. However, choosing who would be the right one gets tough at times! I think where egos clash or where there are not many people whom you can really call level headed, things can turn bitter. At those times it’s best to stay off all talks and let each one cool down before really getting back with discussions. Yes, communication among yourself to try and resolve issues works I feel.

      There is always a better way to talk things out, though we need to know that, which also includes the power to listen to another while he/she talks. We often try butting in or interrupting the person talking to only prove our point or be heard, which does hinder the conversation or resolution taking place.

      I know you also love quotes, so that we share in our common likes. :)

      Thanks so much for stopping by- it’s always a pleasure to have you over. :)

  5. Hiten

    March 24, 2012 at 3:48 am

    Hi Harleena,

    This was an excellent and comprehensive post. Family conflict can be a difficult area, and due to its nature, requires different ways to solve, which you have covered brilliantly.

    I agree proper communication is critical. Isn’t it strange how we pay careful attention to how we communicate when we’re at work, but seem to forget this at times when in a family environment.

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      Harleena Singh

      March 24, 2012 at 1:45 pm

      Glad you found some value in the post Hiten!

      Each family is different, and so are their problems. We really can’t chalk out ways to resolve all family issues or conflicts, as each conflict will be dealt differently based on the situation as well as the family involved. But yes, we can try to generalize the steps to take to resolve such family conflicts that may occur.

      I also strongly believe in the power of communication through which you can do wonders, if you want to. And yes, you are so right about us communicating in the best of manner while at work, or even when we are visiting guests. But this isn’t the case at home! I guess you start taking your family members for granted and feel they know and understand you pretty well, so just about anything will do with them. However, the case should be different and ideally we should be taking more care about our family members by keeping our channels of communication open with them- isn’t it?

      Thanks so much for stopping by. :)

      • Hiten

        March 24, 2012 at 9:25 pm

        Hi Harleena,

        Yes I agree, with family it can be easy to get into that “they know what I’m like and I know them”, which can then dictate our behaviours with them. I also agree, that because there can be a tendency to do this; even more care is needed in the way we relate to our relatives.

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          Harleena Singh

          March 24, 2012 at 10:52 pm

          Yes indeed, I think in families everyone’s taken for granted that gives rise to problems later. We do need to more careful with our family members or relatives and ensure we communicate and well with them first, rather than with friends or outsiders. I guess because home is where family is- isn’t it ?

          Thanks. :)

  6. ntathu allen

    March 24, 2012 at 4:49 am

    For me, that’s the hardest part in resolving…separating the problem from the person and remembering the goal is to resolve and not to win the argument. So good to see that reminder. Wonderful post and lots of food for thought. Thanks

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      Harleena Singh

      March 24, 2012 at 1:52 pm

      Conflicts are never really easy Ntathu!

      With such family conflicts always comes in pain, hurt, and bitterness. However, we need to separate the problem in hand from the person so that we take both things differently. And there is no end to arguing that can carry on endlessly, but we have to put an end to things in order to resolve them. I know it’s easier said than done, but it’s not impossible.

      Thanks for stopping by. :)

  7. Harriet

    March 24, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    I think that you can solve family conflict by honest and open communication. And by practising comprise even when you don’t really want to. Sometimes you just have to back down for the sake of the argument!

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      Harleena Singh

      March 24, 2012 at 10:45 pm

      Quite true Harriet!

      One of the major ways to resolve family conflicts is to keep your channels of communication open, so that you can talk to each other and sort out the problems. Sometimes it does help to eat a humble pie and remain quiet, while at other time it helps to compromise and adjust if you can, or else talk things out. And if nothing works, sometimes it’s best to call it a day, though that should be the last resort.

      Thanks for stopping by. :)

  8. Justin Mazza

    March 24, 2012 at 8:55 pm

    Hi Harleena,

    I just read this awesome quote from Abraham Hicks and I thought it went well with your post.

    “Even in your rightness about a subject, when you try to push your rightness toward another who disagrees, no matter how right you are, it causes more pushing against. In other words, it isn’t until you stop pushing that any real allowing of what you want can take place.”

    — Abraham

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      Harleena Singh

      March 24, 2012 at 11:47 pm

      Nice quote Justin!

      I totally agree with this quote – pushing and imposing doesn’t lead to anywhere. Self-acceptance and acknowledgemnent is the key to change. Every indivudual has the right and should make self-enquiry and then accept things, and enforcing would put any person on the defensive. No individual with self-respect would like to be pushed around. In a conflicting situation, people either get on the defensive or exactly the opposite, aggressive. The most suitable option is a mutual compromise.

      However, even if personal views and beliefs do not match, relations become more peaceful when people start accepting each other as they are, become tolerant and respectful of each others views. There are billions of people, with correspondingly billions of views, and its never that you’re right and rest all of the billions are wrong. However, it is always wise to run a thourough check on any views passed on before making a negative judgement.

      Thanks for stopping by. :)

  9. Hajra

    March 25, 2012 at 12:21 am

    It took me two cups of coffee to get through that post! ;) But yes, beautifully written and very well explained.

    There are many reasons for a family conflict but the key is to solving it with the family. That is one technique that I find most of us miss; we need to understand that a family that sits and talks it out will go a long way in not only solving family conflicts; but also in being a family that connects with each other and goes a long way in solving the small and the big hurdles all together!

    Also, compromise is something we need to understand. How much we are doing it and how often we are doing. I have often felt that sometimes compromise works best in handling issues and settling matters which otherwise might blow out of proportion.

    This was a very interesting post Harleen! Sorry to have dropped by late; really busy week! :)

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      Harleena Singh

      March 25, 2012 at 1:25 pm

      Sorry for the length Hajra, though am glad you enjoyed your coffee because of that!

      You are absolutely right about resolving the conflicts that arise within your family, among and by yourselves. I guess we often wait for outsiders or some mediators to come and help us, when simple solutions like communicating or talking things out with one another works best. However, when things do cross limits and get unbearable, mediators are required to resolve issues- if possible.

      Compromising and adjusting to one another goes a long way. But yes, if one side is compromising or making all the adjustments, it can create problems in the future. I feel compromises should always be made from both parties if possible, as that is a good way of making up.

      Thanks for stopping by, and no worries about coming in late as long as you come. :)

  10. Janet Callaway

    March 25, 2012 at 9:33 am

    Harleena, aloha. Epic post on a very sensitive topic superbly addressed. Congratulations to you, my friend.

    Harleena, as you know, quotes are my “thing” too and as I was reading your post I was thinking “I have to tell Harleena how perfect these two quotes are.” Then, I finished reading the post and I can honestly say I have never ever read a post that better incorporated the use of its quotes. Each one is perfect and contributes much to the whole. Absolutely brilliant selection of quotes.

    It is so much better to resolve petty matters before they fester by sitting too long. If they are not resolved, in time what happens is not about the original issue rather it is about what has transpired since.

    That being said, sometimes there are family members with whom you are not in sync because of personality differences or philosophical beliefs. In those cases, for the good of family harmony, I believe it is best to remain in neutral around them and avoid much interaction which would lead to conflict. Even if we are related by blood, we will not necessarily have close ties with all such individuals.

    Again, Harleena, this post was simply magnificent. Thank you.

    Best wishes for a week of peace, joy and abundance in all that matters to you. Aloha. Janet

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      Harleena Singh

      March 25, 2012 at 2:06 pm

      Aloha Janet!

      Glad you could relate to the post and found that it was addressed well enough. :)

      Quotes sure are something we both share in common, and I have read some of the most beautiful quotes at your blog by a few of my favorite people as well. I do take a lot of time hunting for the right quote & images to go with the post, as I feel they add more meaning to what you have written. Most of the time the time spent on hunting both these tasks is longer than writing the post itself! But I still prefer it this ways. :)

      You are absolutely right about resolving petty matters as fast as possible, before become bigger issues leading to major problems. I guess letting go of our egos and taking the first move by communicating with one another helps a great deal here.

      That’s a very valid point about staying away from those whose personality or views don’t match yours, or just remaining neutral as you mentioned. I think that you can just about be cordial with another and not really indulge in anything further as it would only lead to more bitterness, for whatever reasons.

      I guess at the end of the day what you really want from your family is peace, harmony, and love with a little bit of understanding- isn’t it? And we need to frame out ways that suit everyone so that each one is comfortable living together.

      Thanks so much for stopping by, it’s always a pleasure to have you over.

      Have a wonderful weekend as well :)

  11. Sylviane Nuccio

    March 26, 2012 at 2:27 am

    Hi Harleena,

    What a very sensitive subject is this one for me. My brother hasn’t talked to me for over two years now. According to him it is because I dropped out of the “religion” me and my family belonged to, but a friend of mine is telling me that it’s deeper than that. My friend is saying that it’s because of some deep and unhealed resentment.

    I never talk about this to anyone, because it’s very painful, but interestingly, I was just passing by Janet’s blog which talked about shame, and reading your post right after, I felt that another reason why I am not talking about it is that I am ashamed of it.

    I have always been a rather head strong person and before I put myself together with maturity and learning I often say things I regretted. Sometimes I hurt the people I loved the most. Sometimes I feel that this is the reason my brother doesn’t talk to me anymore.

    Thank for this great post, Harleena :)

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      Harleena Singh

      March 26, 2012 at 7:06 pm

      Glad you could resonate with the post Sylviane!

      I did read about the drift you and your brother had in an earlier comment you had left at the blog, and did wonder as what could have happened. I guess there surely must be something deeper than meets the eye, and perhaps there is some deep seated resentment or some kind of other problem that’s bothering your brother.

      If it’s only because you dropped out of the religion you and your family belonged to, then am sure there could be ways to solve that conflict, perhaps by talks or getting a mediator from the family, as it’s surely not such a major issue to really stop all kinds of communication with one another!

      Ah..I know Janet’s latest post was wonderful and something that most of us learn so much from. You really don’t have to feel ashamed talking about it, as I feel this can and does happen to so many of us, sometime or with someone in our lives. But I have strongly believe in the power of effective communication, and I know it works wonders. If I may ask, have you tried talking to your brother as to why he isn’t talking and if it’s really the issue of religion or something else. (You must have I guess or he may not be responsive enough).

      To be honest, I am a little like you too- or shall I say a little blunt at times, as I know what I say does hurt people, though I am trying to work at that. If you really know that your words may have hurt your brother or you know that you may have said something that he may not have liked, all that it really takes is to go over and apologize! But yes, only if you believe that you were at fault and really do want to make up, which I know you must be wanting to as he is your own- isn’t it?

      All I can really advice as what I understand best is to talk out things with an open heart and mind, with your brother. If he’s not the kinds to talk readily, get some mediator or some elder in your family whom you both look up to. Sometimes these things help resolve issues and clear the clouds of bitterness, and all that it really takes is to step forward and make that first move.

      Wishing you all the very best and hoping you do manage to resolve the conflict withing your family really soon!

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experiences with everyone. :)

      • Sylviane Nuccio

        March 27, 2012 at 6:25 am

        Hi Harleena,

        Thanks for you response to me.

        Well, I’ve apologized to my bother and sister in law for my “sour mouth” a long time ago. But few years ago, before my mother got sick with a mental disease she told me that my sister in law didn’t like me, so that could be the real reason beyond all this. It made my mother very sad.

        There is a French saying that goes like this: “What women want, God wants”. This means that women get their way with men much easier than the other way around. I have to say that I’ve observed that many times.

        There is also the fact that “brain washing” is a strong tool, and my bother has been well brain washed religiously speaking and I am not skilled enough to even begin to go around a brain washed person. Religions such as this one is. I should know, I was there.. I just had a personality that never went along with brain washing and never let that happened. That’s why am out.

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          Harleena Singh

          March 27, 2012 at 12:57 pm

          Thanks for responding back Sylviane, I guess I was just curious! And I am sure glad to know that you did try and do you best and apologized (if that was the reason that your brother was keeping his distance!)

          I can well understand how your mother must have felt upon revealing the fact that your brother turned against you because your sister-in-law disliked you. But I feel that the family bonds are so strong that such small things shouldn’t ideally change a persons heart and mind to such an extent.

          On the contrary, because your sister-in-law is a new member in the family, your brother should have ideally explained or reasoned out with her about the dislike she has towards you. Perhaps he did try and nothing really worked out, and this is again something so common we experience at our end as well! But yes, if you both did manage to talk out things, I wonder if you clarified if the reason for such change in behavior was because of his wife’s dislike towards you? I say this because it could even be an assumption, while the real cause may be something different that you may not know.

          Ah…that French saying does work well in most cases, I ditto that too. :)

          Yes, brain washing or switching sides is something I too can’t really well relate to, but that sure is something most people get affected by. But then I wonder how weak such people really must be from within to get brain washed so easily- isn’t it?

          Well, all I can really say is that I hope your brother realizes the fact that you too are family and finds ways to somehow make up the conflict you both had years ago. Life is really so short for keeping such dislikes within us, and it’s better to make amends while we can- isn’t it?

          Hoping and praying that things get better between both of you :)

    • ntathu allen

      March 27, 2012 at 12:29 am

      Bless you Sylviane,

      It takes courage to share your story yet that is part of the healing process- reaching out, asking for support, compassion and guidance. Be gentle with yourself. Sometimes we just have to wait till the other person is ready to communicate and let go. In the meantime, do what you can to forgive yourself, find ways to nurture your soul and make peace with yourself.

      A simple meditation whereby you hold you loved one in your heart and send them love can help you find comfort in your loss and confusion. Be gentle and look after yourself. Keep the channels open and do what you can to ease the rift, without losing your soul.

      • Sylviane Nuccio

        March 27, 2012 at 6:36 am

        Hi Ntathu,

        Thanks you so much for this.

        Yes, it’s not easy to talk about what’s wrong in your life. And I’ve done a pretty good job at not telling about this thorn in the flesh of mine.

        But, hey you read all those personal development blogs everyday and here you find yourself revealing stuff. This is because we have such incredible bloggers and writers :) They makes you do this :) Such as Harleena and Janet in this case :)

        But, you are right, getting it out it’s helping me to heal.

        I certainly meditate a lot and it really helps me a great deal. Believe me, that’s why I feel I can teach others. If some people that I help were in my shoes some would jump out the window. Only my strong mind has help me getting through a WHOLE lot these past 5 years. Many things no one will ever know :)

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          Harleena Singh

          March 27, 2012 at 1:26 pm

          Loved the conversation going on Ntathu & Sylviane!

          I think it’s wonderful if we can really come out with our innermost feelings and seek each other’s help and support through people or blogs, as they do prove to be an outlet as well as a place to share about yourself and seek solutions in some ways.

          I liked your advice to meditate Ntathu, as that is surely a wonderful way to release and let go of pent up feelings and is well known to calm you down as well. And as you too have undergone a great deal in your life, these sure are words from an experienced person. :)

          Glad to know that you too practice meditation Sylviane- guess that’s what keeps you going- isn’t it? Time does heal and the tough time always does pass, though that passing time is what we have to make worthwhile.

          Thanks so much for taking this conversation to a better level by helping each other. It feels wonderful to know that we are always there for one another if need be. :)

  12. farouk

    March 26, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    Hey Harleena!

    I am lucky I am reading your blog before getting married :)

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      Harleena Singh

      March 26, 2012 at 7:07 pm

      Ahh…I like that Farouk!

      I wouldn’t mind you reading the blog before marriage, as long as you don’t need such posts after you get married :)

      Thanks for stopping by. :)

  13. Rajendranath Mehrotra

    March 26, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    In continuation to my earlier comments, I personally feel ‘one of the reasons’ for conflicts getting escalated is the unwillingness of each one to take the first step towards resolving it. Though, within our heart we want and wish to get it resolved ‘sooner the better’ but the catch is “Who will bell the cat first”?

    My own nature is to take first step with full determination and dedication in all honesty and I rarely fail. Be it a family conflict, conflicts between two friends or a group of friend or ‘Kitty members’, the moment I learn, I make a move on my own.

    I have been successful in removing conflicts in at least 5 groups of individuals. Two such individuals were ‘not talking to each other’ since past more than 10 years. Within my society and friends’ circle, now I am known for such services.

    Many a times, two families start arguments and quarrelling on very petty issues related to ‘some fights among their children’ and soon it picks up heat. In such cases, after the dust settles down, I go to each one personally, unite children first and then the families, and believe me; I get immense pleasure and satisfaction in doing such services.

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      Harleena Singh

      March 26, 2012 at 10:10 pm

      You’re right. It’s not easy to take the first step, but then somebody has to do it – and the kudos goes to that individual.

      That’s some good work you’re involved in, and I’m sure more people will benefit by resolving their conflict with you acting as the mediator.

      In many family as well- general conflicts arise due to insignificant reasons. We need to get over our ego, take initiative and write off the conflicts from our hearts and memories to keep them easy and light, and keep us healthy and happy.

      Thanks for stopping by. :)

  14. Bryce Christiansen

    March 26, 2012 at 10:58 pm

    Wow Harleena,

    You’ve laid it all out very well here. Family issues aren’t about one thing…they are very complicated.

    I like that you don’t try to simplify it into just one topic, source, or outcome.

    In working on The People Profiler we saw communication as one of those sources of family issues. Parents and children tend to have different communication styles, and when we aren’t getting through to them, we assume it’s on them not understanding us.

    It’s better to understand your kid’s communication behaviors; are they extroverts, introverts, people oriented, task oriented. What do they fear, what are their goals, what are they like under stress.

    Knowing all this makes it easier to get through to them and come to a win/win relationship with the whole family.

    We’re used to winging it when it comes to communication so I understand why that becomes such a big problem in families.

    Thanks for the great post.

    Bryce

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      Harleena Singh

      March 26, 2012 at 11:28 pm

      Glad you could resonate with the post Bryce!

      You are absolutely right about family issues being complicated and something that needs resolutions as fast as possible, especially because it’s family!

      Communication is the foremost tool to use when any kind of conflict happens I feel. All problems that can have a solution work best when they are talked out or discussed. I really don’t think that anything works better, though if one of the parties isn’t willing to communicate or co-operate, things do get tough. I am sure the People Proflier would have hinted at this part as well. :)

      As parents, you know your kids the best I feel. Their behavior, likes, dislikes, nature, and just about everything is something you have seen them grow with. And you do have it in your control to mold their nature so that they turn out to be good humans, as that’s all we want- isn’t it?

      Ego clashes along with lack of communication or just the fact that who would make the first move to resolve the problems is something that aggravates the problems. I feel it works best when you can talk out issues right when they start and nip them in the bud, rather than sitting quiet over them due to whatever reasons, as they just keep piling up within you to later erupt like a volcano someday!

      Thanks for stopping by and adding more value to the post. :)

  15. Adrienne

    March 26, 2012 at 11:17 pm

    Those are all very intelligent ways of resolving family conflict Harleena and I just wish we had some of that back when I was young.

    We had a lot of conflict in my home due to my sister wishing she had been an only child. There was always fighting going on between she and I and trust me when I say, I never started any of it. I could just look at something wrong and she’d slap me. There was no discussing things with her, sitting down and talking things over or even sending her to her room. She always found a way to rebel. I don’t know if everyone had someone like my sister in their family but I grew up thinking that was normal.

    Today I’m really big on discussing things. Although I don’t have a family of my own, in all my relationships I believe it’s just important to always keep the line of communication open and resolve issues before they get out of hand. In today’s world there just seems to be so much more for kids to deal with.

    Great tips though Harleena, wonderful and helpful post.

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      Harleena Singh

      March 26, 2012 at 11:52 pm

      Glad you could relate to the post Adrienne!

      I understand what you mean, as some of them I was also not aware of when I was younger – even though we never had any major kind of conflicts within our family.

      Oh dear…having such a sister must have been terrible for you, though you kept feeling it was quite normal. But yes, I do wonder as to why didn’t your parents intervene or stop her from slapping or fighting with you? Or perhaps they never got to know about it.

      I ask this because being the elder one in my family, I was supposedly given charge of my younger sister and as she puts it across, I always bossed over or commanded her to do things! Perhaps my tone or way of telling her things was such, but whenever she would complain to my parents, I was always scolded for stop being bossy and changing my ways, which I did.

      I guess sometimes siblings have some grudge that they are not able to show or get resolved, which leads to such kind of a behavior as was your sisters. May be she was the elder one and in charge, or as you mentioned, didn’t want a sister or brother to share the love of her parents- we can never say. However, I wonder if you both managed to get past things with time and resolved them. May be you did, especially after you lost your father- it must have brought all of you together. (My guess!)

      I am happy that you totally believe in discussing and talking out things now. I guess what we experience in our childhood does have some affect when we grow up, and you must have felt that lack of communication when you were young- so make sure that this is one aspect that’s covered up really well now. No wonder you have such a lovely way of commenting at our blogs that touches the hearts of people, which for me is a way of online communication. :)

      Yes indeed, nothing works like communicating and discussing things to resolve issues, before they turn out to be major problems in life.

      Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your experiences with everyone. It’s always a pleasure to have you over. :)

      • Adrienne

        March 26, 2012 at 11:58 pm

        Oh my parents did their best with her but trust me, she had a mind of her own.

        I haven’t shared this with many but my Mom lost a child between my sister and I so my Mom showed me more attention when I came along. I believe my sister was jealous which is why she never liked me. That actually continued throughout our adult life and it wasn’t until my Dad passed away that she started to come around. She doesn’t have any children either but when she got her first dog about five years ago we all laughed and said she finally grew a heart. She finally understands what unconditional love is all about. Now she’s a softy.

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          Harleena Singh

          March 27, 2012 at 12:09 am

          I can understand that and it surely must have been tough for your parents as well.

          But just as you mentioned about your Mom losing a child between you and your sister, that must have triggered her to feel jealous of you, especially when extra attention was given to you. Even when a second child’s born, the first one does feel insecure and such feelings are known to occur, though with time everyone tries to cool off things and parents also prepare the elder one for the arrival of the second. But yes, in your case perhaps your sister wasn’t really controllable, though am glad things are fine now.

          Ah…the dog she got would give her good company, and yes, that does prove that she has changed with time. I guess we all do grow and change in our ways and nature as time passes by. I am indeed happy for you and your sister, and glad that everything is sorted out now.

          Wishing both of you all the best and lots of happy moments of togetherness :)

        • Sylviane Nuccio

          March 27, 2012 at 6:47 am

          Oh Adrienne, no wonder we are thinking of the same thing the same day, we have a lot in common:)

          I am sorry you’ve got a sister who never liked you. I think she was hurt with jealousy and jealousy makes people mean.

          I have always adored my bother and so did he, but now he doesn’t care if I am alive or dead (I talked about this above). The reason I SAY he doesn’t it’s because it’s just true. If I was dead right this second, or 6 months ago he wouldn’t know. He doesn’t.

          Also, I never had children either and I am living alone with my cat and I know you are living alone with your dog :)

          Adrienne, I am just laughing out loud as I am writing this. We have a lot in common :)

  16. Chadrack

    March 26, 2012 at 11:40 pm

    I must say the first thing everyone of us must know is that we cannot all be right at the same time, neither can we agree with just everything at the same time.

    I think conflict are just part of life and they truly help us to better understand ourselves especially when it comes to husband and wife. The two are from different backgrounds and orientation. It is only when we can really express our disagreements that we will be able to appreciate what the other wants.

    You’ve really given a guide that if used with an open mind conflicts in the home will be resolved without any much ado. It is unfortunate that these days many homes are breaking up because of flimsy excuses. The points about opening up all communication channels and learning to forgive, forget, and to let go are really important. Without the right communication during conflicts things could go bad. Open communication is necessary. And of course we must learn to forgive one another. Not keeping yesterday’s conflicts for today.

    Great article keep it up, you’re helping heal the world!

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      Harleena Singh

      March 27, 2012 at 12:35 am

      Glad you could resonate with the post Chadrack!

      You are so right about each one of us being different with different natures, thus we can never really be right all the time, nor can we really agree with one another. They are indeed part of life and something each of us have to face.

      Conflicts do help us understand ourselves better, and in turn understand the problem in hand. Whether the couple is from different backgrounds or known to each other, it does help to discuss about your disagreements and problem areas to resolve issues, and to thus understand the needs of one another. But yes, there are ways of going about resolving issues, which is what really matters- isn’t it?

      Petty issues are the ones that give rise to major problems, and it’s best to resolve such small issues right when they start off- as this ensures that things are resolved before they flare up. I know and understand that some of the things mentioned in the post may be easier said than done, like it’s not easy to forget or let go sometimes. But if we really do want to resolve the conflicts and patch up, there is no better way other than forgiving each other and moving on.

      I liked what you mentioned about not keeping yesterday’s conflicts for today! This is something quite similar to what my Granny used to say, she always said that no matter what problems you have had during the day, always make sure you make up and sleep together at night (for a couple)- her words of wisdom have a lot of meaning for sure. :)

      I am just trying my wee bit to make the place a better one by sharing ways to resolve any kind of conflicts arising due to whatever reasons, though am glad that you appreciate the effort.

      Thanks so much for stopping by and adding more value to the post. :)

      • Chadrack

        March 27, 2012 at 7:00 pm

        I agree with you totally that there are ways of resolving issues. In fact, most times it is the approach taken that will determine the outcome. Unfortunately, there are those who in trying to resolve issues succeed only in fueling up matters.

        Again, I must say your guide is really a helpful one. Yes, not all conflicts may need all of these but a simple understanding of the situation and applying the right one will help things out.

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          Harleena Singh

          March 27, 2012 at 8:20 pm

          You are so right about saying that most of the times it is the approach taken that determines the outcome or result, something that is to a great extent is in our hands. But yes, people seldom are able to understand this important aspect and like you mentioned some may add fuel to the fire, instead of really resolving issues.

          I guess getting help or support should ideally be through some well known therapist, and if you don’t want to venture out then it needs to be someone reliable and trustworthy, and should suit both parties.

          Thanks so much for sharing your views and suggestions. It’s always a pleasure to have you over. :)

          • Chadrack

            March 27, 2012 at 9:07 pm

            Harleena,

            Frankly, the issue of seeking out therapists or counselors is one that is not really agreeable to many, myself inclusive. Of course, these are helpful but before you can take up the services of a therapist, the two parties must be willing. Where one is willing and the other is not, nothing can work.

            However, when you have the basic knowledge as outlined in your post and you take the initiative to resolve the conflict, success will always come your way.

            I believe, especially if it’s a conflict between spouses, that the two should sit to resolve it. That is what maturity is all about. When you step out to get into a marriage relationship you are showing that you have attained a certain maturity in life. When conflicts arise therefore you are to draw on this inner resources to make things work. Spouses that take their conflicts before therapists are simply confessing that they were not mature for the relationship in the first place.

            Of course, not everyone will be able to really have what it takes to handle conflicts at every point, but that is where information like this one you’ve just provided here is important. And like I said before, it demands an open mind, having a forgiving spirit and of course ready to really communicate.

            Remembering, that of the thousands of people you have met in life, you have chosen this particular person to spend the rest of your life with is very important here. Once you understand this, it will not be too much therefore if you will “tolerate” a few things about the person.

            One thing we must understand is that conflicts are nothing but misunderstandings. So communicating with your spouse with the genuine mind of better understanding him/her, can help in a great way in handling all conflicts.

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              Harleena Singh

              March 27, 2012 at 10:22 pm

              I agree with you totally regarding involving mediators or therapists, as I would personally prefer resolving issues among the family or ourselves.

              I feel no one knows us better than ourselves, and as in the case of couples, they are the best 2 people who know about each other, their problem areas and what they need to resolve them. But yes, where and when things go beyond repairs or to the extremes as when two people are just not willing to talk out things and it’s all turning out bitter and starts having an affect on your health, mediators or therapists may be of help.

              You are absolutely right about resolving issues among yourselves, especially if you are a husband and wife. And it does work best if no third person is involved, as that can even damage the relationship further. However, if one of the two people involved is not mature enough to understand the basics of a relationship, though he/she does want a resolution- then getting a mediator may help. But I believe that should be the last resort, if nothing else works.

              I truly do believe that communication does play a major part to resolve any kinds of conflicts, for which, just as you mentioned, you need to have a positive mind frame and be ready to talk and listen to each other. Nothing can work better than communicating and expressing your thoughts, feelings, and emotions to one another.

              I wish more people would think like you Chadrack, and learn to bear and tolerate their spouses for the small flaws that they may have. Things do become so much easier after that. Life is after all – all about accepting, and adjusting with one another- isn’t it?

              Thank you so much for carrying forward this wonderful conversation by sharing your views, which is sure to help the readers of the blog.:)

  17. Anne

    March 27, 2012 at 12:16 am

    Very detailed and helpful post, Harleena.

    I go into depth with this in my parenting book, but I also wanted to highlight that a huge common cause of conflict is change of financial situations. For example when the mother stops working to raise kids – or starts working part-time, loss of job, or retirement. This is unfortunate because money should never be a cause for conflict in families. However, studies have shown that finance is one of the top 5 reasons families fall apart.

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      Harleena Singh

      March 27, 2012 at 12:49 am

      Glad you found the post helpful Anne!

      You are quite right that financial issues are also a major reason for conflicts, just as I have mentioned in one of the common causes of conflicts. Even though we may not want to believe that money could be a reason, but it is, as everything nowadays revolves around money.

      Either it’s because of a lack of it, or as you mentioned when one parent is not working or loses the job or is baby-sitting, or because the funds are being used up elsewhere by some family member. Reasons could be any and many, but they do lead to major conflicts in families, and do need resolutions as soon as possible before things turn bitter.

      Thanks for stopping by. :)

  18. My Childs Health

    March 27, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    This is a very helpful post!

    I often experience some of the categories you mentioned, but I have seen financial issues tend to be the number one conflicts and this hold true for a lot of my friends.

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      Harleena Singh

      March 27, 2012 at 6:13 pm

      Welcome to the blog Nan! (I wish you would use your real name rather than your sites, as it helps me connect to you better personally!)

      Glad you could resonate with the post, and yes financial issues are one of the major causes of conflicts experienced world wide. Just as I had replied to an earlier comment and as mentioned in the post above, financial conflicts could arise due to various reasons, like lack of funds, loss of a job, or one of the parents working or having left a job etc.

      The sad part is that we let things like financial issues affect our family life, which in turn affects our relationship with each other. Yes, funds are an important part and are needed to live our lives, but we need to remember that it’s the ONLY thing- isn’t it?

      Thanks for stopping by. :)

  19. Ajen

    March 28, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    Wow, Harleena!

    I feel like I had just earned 5 credits for reading this post! …and the comments. Just like you and Ilka, I believe that it is essential to keep the lines of communication open. Sounds simple huh? ..nope… It requires the individual to take humble stance when communicating with another individual. Also, it requires non-defensiveness and unconditional regard towards each other even in light of current differences and potential differences.

    Thank you for sharing this comprehensive post!

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      Harleena Singh

      March 28, 2012 at 1:26 pm

      Welcome to the blog Ajen!

      Glad you could resonate with the post and found the comments interesting! Yes, there’s surely a wonderful discussion that’s been taking place here last few days, and am happy that the readers of the blog are able to find value in this write up.

      You are absolutely right about keeping the channels of communication open, whether you are within your family and face the problems or outside. That is the only one thing that is solely in your hands, and something that can resolve the issues- isn’t it?

      Yes, it is not easy to give in each time or let go of your ego and make the first move to start talking or communicating, sometimes even when it’s not your fault. But then if you do want to resolve the conflict, this is the very first basic move. And if not you nor your partner, who else would be able to help you out.

      Communicating with each other should be done with mutual respect, understanding, using cool and calm tones, and of course as you mentioned by being non-defensive. All this happens only when you wish things to be resolved and are ready to make the move.

      Thanks for stopping by. :)

    • Chadrack

      March 28, 2012 at 5:39 pm

      You’re very right Ajen. Most times while conflicts run into catastrophes is because we don’t want to be open to one another. We’re self protective which comes from our human self pride. We don’t want to accept we are wrong even when we are and when it is the other party that is wrong, we feel too proud to take the lead in resolving the issues.

      But as Harleena said, if you truly want to resolve the conflict, this must be he very first basic move. It is a problem that all us of faces at one time or the other. The truth is if we are able to lay aside our pride and self importance we’ll be able to make a success of resolving the conflict. Much of the problem in the world today is because of this very one thing.

      Again, I want to say that the best way to ensure that we don’t run into situations where conflicts overwhelm us, we must nip it in the bud! Take care of it before it becomes problem.

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        Harleena Singh

        March 29, 2012 at 3:28 pm

        I think Ajen may have put off her notification Chadrack. And you are quite right about not being open and free with one another that may also be a reason for misunderstandings and lead to conflicts. Our egos stop us from accepting our faults or bending down to accept the other persons views.

        I do believe that someone has to make that first move in order to resolve conflicts, whether it is the other person or you. And if they are not ready, then you could take the needed action by keeping your ego and pride aside and stepping forward- isn’t it?

        In most cases communicating to resolve any arising issues works best, as things are easily sorted out when you talk and listen to one another, so that the problems don’t become major issues of conflict.

        Thanks so much for sharing your views and suggestions with everyone. :)

  20. Rajendranath Mehrotra

    March 28, 2012 at 11:17 pm

    After going through varied comments, I can only say that “Good things don’t come easily. They need lot of courage, conviction and what not? Whereas, bad things (habits, nature, arrogance, ego etc…) come very easily but don’t leave….They need a very very tough attitude, mental strength, determination, conviction and again, what not?

    Churchill had once remarked…”Leaving smoking is one of the easiest things to do, I have done it several times”.

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      Harleena Singh

      March 30, 2012 at 1:31 am

      Yes, its true that we’ve the natural tendency to cling on more to the negatives – including petty issues. It might not be easy to achieve the positives, that is, a family conflict resolution, but it is not an impossible task.

      As you said, it takes one to be firm, positive, and have the belief that it is the right path and the right destination in order to be successful. Attaining the good, or quitting the bad require the same efforts – but if there is a will, there is a way.

      Thanks. :)

  21. Cat Alexandra

    March 29, 2012 at 12:58 am

    Dear Harleena,

    This is such a wonderful subject for so many to consider! I personally grew up in a home where there was a lot of negativity and conflict. It was a challenging thing to be immersed in so much discord all the time.

    I think that the Garth Brooks quote you shared is absolutely spot on!

    I started to see myself being very reactive about things when I was a teenager and young adult. It’s part of why I left my home at such an early age. – Too much conflict from too many people in a 4-wall setting. It’s important for us to work out our own conflicts with ourselves so we may be able to have compassion enough to work through the misunderstandings and conflicts in the constructive ways you have shared with us. Very key!!

    :) Life is so much better when we become self-responsible in how we care for one another! And as RuPaul always says, “If you can’t love yourself, how the hell you gonna love somebody else!” lol

    Wonderful advice here, my dear friend. So happy you are sharing these wonderful tidbits to help others. Happily RT’ing to my readers!

    Hope you’re enjoying your week a lot!!

    Cat

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      Harleena Singh

      March 29, 2012 at 3:15 pm

      Glad you could relate to the post Cat!

      It must have been tough for you to grow up in an atmosphere full of conflict and negativity, though that is something that must have made you stronger and wiser when you grew up.

      You are right about family conflicts having an adverse affect on young minds, which may lead them to leave home as in your case. And at young an age you need all the help, support, understanding and love of your family and loved ones. But yes, if there are conflicts within the house whom can you turn to really.

      Love those words of RuPaul that are so true- yes we need to love ourselves before we start loving anyone else. I think this realization comes much later to us or after we have undergone a great deal in our lives- isn’t it?

      I am happy if these little suggestions help people in some ways to resolve the conflicts in their lives. Thanks so much for spreading the love :)

      Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your experiences with everyone. It’s always a pleasure to have you over. :)

  22. Carolyn

    March 30, 2012 at 3:11 am

    Hi Harleena, that was a very thorough post, well done!

    Our family is very similar to yours. We went through a rough stretch growing up so we know we’re there to support each other.

    It breaks my heart when I hear that mothers and daughters are estranged, often over minor squabbles. I want to shake them and tell them how precious their relationships are.

    I think your suggestions are valid, Harleena. I love the quite from Alistair Grant. When issues are dealt with early, it’s so much better.

    I have a question for you. How would your advice for conflict resolution change if it weren’t directed at family conflicts? Is there any aspect of family conflicts that makes resolving them different?

    Thanks for sharing this wisdom with us, Harleena!

    • Profile photo of Harleena Singh

      Harleena Singh

      March 31, 2012 at 2:31 pm

      Glad you liked the post Carolyn!

      Sorry for the late reply….I can well imagine when families go through rough phases and come out stronger with time passing by, as I have a few relatives who underwent the same as was in your case.

      It is sad to see any kind of conflict within our families or even outside, especially if your family is close knit or you have always been very close to each other. I have also often felt and wished that I could do something or try to make people understand how important it is to be together and patch up their differences well in time, before things really get worse.

      To answer your question Carolyn- A conflict is a conflict. At the base of all types of conflicts, there is a problem of lack of communication and our ‘ego’. And this depends on our attitude. If we’ve the right attitude, it becomes easy to resolve any sort of conflict.

      It becomes difficult to separate the person from the problem, and we develop prejudices against the person rather than attempting to solve the problem. Its where our attitude matters – and our default choices – do we just want to float on the surface, experience misery and drift with every argument or want to dive deep and analyse the root of the problem, just pull it out, and be happy.

      Generally, it is comparitively easy to forgive your family members than outsiders, and family members have the advantage to get together seek support of other members – that really means a lot, getting natural and neutral mediators and facilitators. I guess this is because you’ve a sense of oneness with them – and if we all learn to develop this attitude of oneness towards all, we find the world as a big family and we’re able to apply our family conflict solutions to conflict problems everywehre.

      You then start looking out for similarities rather than differences. After all, as mentioneed in one of my quotes in the post, the real problem is the conflict we’ve within ourselves – if we’re at peace with ourselves, no disturbances of any kind can cause any turbulances within to give rise to conflicts.

      I do not know if I’ve answered your question, but it gave me the opportunity to reflect upon the conflict problem from a personal perspective, and I thank you for your question.

      Thanks so much for stopping by and adding more value to the post. It’s always a pleasure to have you over. :)

  23. Warren

    March 31, 2012 at 7:54 pm

    As Janet said “Epic Post”!

    I’d add “starting a business” under the common causes of family conflict.
    So many things change in the household when you start working from home. There are changes in cash flow and security right off the bat, long hours on the computer (yes I’m talking about me, but I’m sure there are a few more out there), bringing the laptop on holidays (Our first two holidays after I started my online business were spent mostly working LOL)

    I’ve been lucky to share my life with someone supportive and encouraging so it’s actually been a great adventure in our lives, and now that things are finally getting settled into a rhythm we’ve changed things up again by buying a house, moving to a small town, and in 2 weeks our first arrives (Cailynn) so things will all different once more and we will continue to grow and run into more/new conflicts that we’ll have to deal with, or decide they aren’t worthy of being conflicts in the first place!

    Awesome post Harleena, and you should be proud of it for sure! :)
    Hope you had a great week my friend! Enjoy the weekend!

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      Harleena Singh

      March 31, 2012 at 11:00 pm

      Sorry for the length of the post Warren (if you meant Epic in that sense :))! Guess sometimes it just can’t be helped!

      Ah..yes you are right by adding’starting a business’ under the common cause of family conflict, as that is what you are an expert at and would be knowing best! I second you where working from home is concerned :)

      Things have changed drastically for me as well ever since I started working from home! I think the worst being that you never really stop working, whether you are on vacation, spending time with your kids or family, or all through the day. It is worse than your regular job you once had, where at least there were some time limit after which we were home and had the time to spend with our dear ones- isn’t it?

      We do know what we should be doing or need to do to resolve conflicts arising due to work pressures like working from home or online business, though knowingly also we never take the required measures (this includes me too!!) I know I need to lessen my time online and be more with my kids and family, and that is exactly what I am working at presently.

      You are indeed lucky that things are right in place for you and your wife, and it’s wonderful how you have planned out things so well, including the arrival of Cailynn (lovely name and you already thought of it!- sweet).

      Conflicts are a part of life and sometimes they are healthy too, as they give you a chance to know each other better -isn’t it? So, even if you do have conflicts in the near future, take them as little blessings and try to learn something from them each time and get better. However, don’t let them extend too long :)

      Thanks so much for stopping by and liking the post. It’s always a pleasure to have you over.

      Enjoy your weekend as well :)

  24. Jayne Kopp

    April 5, 2012 at 9:39 am

    HI Harleena, what a killer post!

    You know, almost every family has it’s issues, in fact I’m going through some transitions myself. My partner and I are separating for a while. There are too many differences compounded with past issues from outside parties that have really added pressure. I’m not saying that either one of us are ‘wrong’ it’s just that we both see that without taking a breather to get clear on thoughts, we might start to dislike one and other.

    I am a person who really needs space. My wonderful partner likes a little more closeness. I never gave myself the time that was necessary to heal and get clear on my thoughts so the result has been an underlying stress issue.

    Everything is all good… course a little emotional, but with that said, I’d rather take these steps now than look back in 10 years and be resentful I didn’t. Like you say, life is too short so you must determine the right move for you.

    Being a life coach, I just thought it was time to put my needs at the top of my list as I tell my clients. If not that would make me a hypocrite … would it not?

    Wonderful advice you have shared Harleena. I thoroughly enjoyed reading.

    Jayne

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      Harleena Singh

      April 6, 2012 at 12:25 am

      Glad you liked the post Jayne!

      You are absolutely right about every family having their shares of issues or conflicts, though how each family deals with such conflicts depends on the family – isn’t it?

      Sorry to hear about your separation of you and your partner that as you mentioned, were mainly influenced by third parties, something that happens so often in many families. Most of the time, its the outsiders or third parties who are the main reasons for conflicts, rather than the couple having any such issues. However, people rarely realize this and keeping having conflicts that eventually lead to breakups.

      I can understand how you need your space and freedom, while your husband prefers to be a little more close or open with you. I guess both of you have different natures, though finding a husband who wants to be close is rare nowadays. :)

      It is quite understandable the emotional turmoil you must be undergoing, though I wonder if you did try out talking to him, or communicating with him, or chalking out some way that things between both of you could work. If you did and nothing seems to be working, then as you mentioned rightly, taking these steps now would help you overcome the hurt and pain that you would have to undergo years later.

      You are absolutely right about starting to live your life by putting your needs over everything else now, just as you coach you clients. You are proving to your clients that you are not a hypocrite, though no one really can fit into your shoes to know what you are undergoing, so no one can actually judge your situation – isn’t it.

      Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your personal experience with everyone, and I hope that your new journey is full of happiness and contentment. :)

      • Jayne Kopp

        April 6, 2012 at 1:10 am

        Thanks Harleena,

        I think that sometimes a little ‘down time’ to collect thoughts and think things through is powerful. That is the place I am at and my wonderful partner is very supportive. Naturally we are taking these steps now to hopefully ‘resolve’ and heal and perhaps (here’s hoping) in a little while down the road start fresh on more solid foundations.

        Believe me, I know a good think when I see it! As you say there are not many men who might think these steps are ‘worth’ the effort. Seeing that he does tells me (and everyone else) what a kind, understanding and authentic person he is! :-)

        Thanks for your response!

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          Harleena Singh

          April 6, 2012 at 1:40 am

          I can well understand your state Jayne!

          Take your time to get hold of your thoughts, as time is known to be a great healer. It’s nice to know that you have a supportive partner as well, which is half the battle won! And you never really know that things work out wonderfully for both of you. :)

          I guess if you both are really making your sincere efforts and giving things time, it may just work out. So, keep the faith and hope and am sure all will be well for both of you.

          Thanks once again. :)

  25. Naxysch

    April 8, 2012 at 10:06 pm

    Hi there!

    First of all thank you so much for such a wonderful article, such detailed account on family conflicts and how to tackle them but I would like to ask some personal question here. We have a really wonderful family where everybody loves each other and we are a happy family in general.

    However my sister, for some personal reasons is always upset with me, no matter how much I try – she is never ever happy with me! I have tried to talk to her, negotiate with her but that did not help because she never wants to talk to me about anything. I have tried to ignore and be normal but even that doesn’t help! Not only with me, generally she is very short tempered and gets into conflicts with everybody around! I just don’t know how to deal with her…

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      Harleena Singh

      April 9, 2012 at 1:09 pm

      Welcome to the blog!

      Glad you liked the article and found it worthwhile. Nice to learn more about your wonderful family as well. :)

      Regarding the relationship between your sister and you, perhaps its kind of a sibling rivalry, which does happen in most homes. I know I often have problems with my sister, though after a while things get normalized again. However, as you mentioned that your sisters nature is the same with everyone and she generally remains upset with whomsoever she meets, perhaps that is her nature then, or was she different earlier?

      I don’t know if she is elder to you, or what all she underwent when she was a child, as sometimes if you an elder child you face insecurities or jealousy when the second child is born. And this jealousy often lasts for quite sometime, till it is dealt with properly. Or sometimes if something is bothering her and she is not able to express her feelings, she may get irritated, frustrated, and troubled with people or things.

      Yes, talking to her in detail, or getting an elder to talk to her, or a mediator would help if she is not listening to you. Remember, she is your sister and she is obviously troubled because of something that she is not able to communicate or tell you. She perhaps needs outside help, unless she is closer to someone within your family who could talk to her.

      Hope this helped. :)

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your personal experiences with everyone. :)

  26. Naxysch

    April 9, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    Thank you so much Harleena for taking time for my issue!

    She is my elder sister and I think you are right.. It is her nature, she was never very lively and active, she would just sit and watch kids playing around instead of playing with them and I have always been very active! I was more of a tom boy you can say! That lead me closer to my younger brothers than her, they were always more attached to me, she felt really bad for that.

    But now things are different but still they share more with me because she is very bossy, she has this feeling of superiority I should say. That’s the reason it never works when me or my parents try to talk to her about her relationship with me. It is always like she thinks she can never be wrong no matter what.

    • Profile photo of Harleena Singh

      Harleena Singh

      April 9, 2012 at 8:59 pm

      Not a problem at all, and am glad if I could be of any help to you. :)

      I guess so that she would be elder by your comment, because I have often seen similar cases earlier too where the elder sibling is jealous or insecure because of the younger sibling, or because of the fact that the younger one is more popular or active than her.

      The reasons could be many, and sometimes parents need to give the elder ones more of attention, love and care before and after the younger siblings come in. This gives the elder ones security and they develop a liking for their sibling, instead of disliking them.

      As you mentioned that you were more of a Tom-boy and friendly to your other younger siblings, because of her nature, which further left her alone in her own shell- something that even she wouldn’t have liked I am sure.

      Now that you have all grown up, her nature has turned bossy and like a ‘miss know all’, because she isn’t connected to you in the same way as you are connected with your other siblings. She has always maintained her distance, so you feel that ways about her I think.

      I wonder if you all have had an open talk in your house, where all of you can sit together and talk to each other, release your inner problems or fears with each other? Sometimes, talk therapy like this works wonders.

      I suggest you try this out as now you have all matured into adults and things may just work for all of you, and your sister may come out with what bothers her or why she is like this, though be nice to her because you know she has a problem and you are all going to try to solve it together.

      Hope this helps :)

  27. Dee Ann Rice

    April 11, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    Harleena,

    I hate conflict. I have had more than my share in the past in my family. It is a really bad thing and sometimes the only way out is to discontinue having anything to do with the person causing all of the conflict. This is not the ideal solution and I would only do it when everything else fails.

    I like your solutions. They are good.

    I think the most important thing is to communicate. Where there is no communication all hope of fixing the problem is lost.

    Thanks for a great post.

    Dee Ann Rice

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      Harleena Singh

      April 12, 2012 at 11:46 am

      Glad you could relate to the post Dee Ann!

      I think none of us really likes conflicts, whether it’s in the family or with anyone outside. But yes, sometimes they do occur due to various reasons, whether we like it or not. What matters most during those times is to keep your balance and know how to resolve those conflicts.

      Breaking all ties with the person causing the conflict is an option, but just as you mentioned, it should be last option ideally after you have tried out everything possible to make things work.

      Yes indeed, communication is the key factor and in-fact the only thing that can really make things work. I guess if you can discuss out the problems and try to resolve them, it would put an end to all kinds of conflicts.

      Thanks for stopping by. It’s always a pleasure to have you over. :)

  28. Brent Pittman

    April 11, 2012 at 11:35 pm

    Great post on family and marriage!

    I talk to a lot of couples about financial disagreement and end up being the neutral third party. Learning how to deal properly with your emotion when conflict arises is key. Have you heard of HALT (Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired)- for when conflict often arises?

    • Profile photo of Harleena Singh

      Harleena Singh

      April 12, 2012 at 12:14 pm

      Welcome to the blog Brent!

      Glad you liked the post and nice to know more about you. I feel being a neutral third party is a good option where conflicts get out of hand and nothing seems to be working.

      You are quite right about saying that when conflicts occur, what matters most is how you handle your emotions and know how to resolve the issues. Hadn’t heard of HALT earlier, thanks for letting me know!

      Thanks for stopping by. :)

  29. Azam

    April 13, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    Hello Harleena,

    You have a smart grip on the topic of family conflicts and their solution. I think after the solution of a conflict, love in the family members touches the peak, if caring attitude is adopted from all concerned members.

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      Harleena Singh

      April 13, 2012 at 8:14 pm

      Glad you feel so Azam!

      Yes indeed, once all kinds of family conflicts are resolved there can be nothing else left other than love, care, and deep understanding.

      Thanks for stopping by. :)

  30. Syeda Mehwish

    April 16, 2012 at 2:55 am

    Hi Harleena,

    Negotiation is the best way to resolve family conflicts and anyone could take the step to resolve this issue but it is good that the one who is the elder of family should take this step to resolve any issues or conflicts. Forgiveness is a big thing and it needs a big heart to forgive anyone, and it is the best lesson that parents need to teach their children from childhood and this lesson plays a vital role in resolving any big or small issue.

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      Harleena Singh

      April 16, 2012 at 9:10 am

      Glad you could relate to the post Syeda!

      Yes indeed, negotiation is one of the best ways to resolve family conflicts. I feel such negotiations or even communication should be done between the concerned family members first, and if nothing works then elders could be brought in to resolve family conflicts. But yes, sometimes even if that doesn’t work, you need to get third parties to intervene to resolve such conflicts.

      Not everyone has a forgiving heart, though if you do forgive those who hurt or cause you pain, it helps you in the long run. You need a big heart and a positive mindset to forgive people, and yes, such lessons need to instilled in kids from the time they are young though they don’t guarantee that they won’t have conflicts when they grow up!

      Thanks for stopping by. :)

  31. Ann alka WorkingBoomer

    April 19, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    There can never be enough written on this subject. You did an excellent job. Family relationships are so important. Communication can be difficult. Love must be there. Thank you for sharing all your information, encouragement and thoughts.

    • Profile photo of Harleena Singh

      Harleena Singh

      April 19, 2012 at 5:37 pm

      Welcome to the blog Ann!

      You are quite right in saying that this topic can have a lot written about it, because it is so wide and important as well. There needs to be deep understanding, love, and care within the family for making things work and resolving any kind of family conflict.

      Thanks for stopping by. :)

  32. Grady Pruitt

    May 11, 2012 at 11:48 pm

    Sometimes, conflict within a family can be hard to resolve. Especially with a family member that you don’t talk with often or see very much.

    A few years ago, my father pulled a disappearing act for a few months. When he resurfaced, we were still left confused as to what really happened. But worst of all was that it happened just before a point where we had been expecting his help. Suddenly, he wasn’t available to help.

    For a long time, I harbored feelings of resentment, not sure what I wanted to do. I kept playing in my head what I wanted to say to him, and it was quite angry. I was hurt.

    When I next saw him, I was shocked by a change in looks. I almost didn’t even recognize him until he started speaking. Between that, and the fact that we were together because of a funeral, I felt it wasn’t the right time to tell him what I really wanted to, so I held it in some more.

    Later, I got to thinking about it, and slowly started to realize that I could let this anger at him cause problems in my life, or I could learn to let it go. It’s been hard, and I still feel it is difficult to trust him, but at least I no longer feel the anger over the hurt caused. Letting go of that anger is probably the best thing I have done, even if I still haven’t gotten the chance to fully resolve the issues.

    Great post! Thanks for sharing!

    • Profile photo of Harleena Singh

      Harleena Singh

      May 12, 2012 at 2:52 pm

      Welcome to the blog Grady!

      Glad you could relate to the post, and yes, sometimes it does get tough to resolve issues, more so if you haven’t seen that family member for a while- though I guess there must be reasons for it.

      I can understand how you must have felt when your dad disappeared for a while, especially when you needed him most. And that hurt and anger must have taken a long time to really go away – if it really went away.

      I wonder though if you did manage to really talk out things with your dad or ask as to why he did what he did? Yes, you did the right thing by not keeping that anger and resentment within you, which would only have harmed you – without your dad knowing that he was the reason for it. I think when you learn to let go of such feelings, in a way you also learn to forgive the person for doing the things he did and accept them for who and what they are. Perhaps there was a reason for his such behavior that you may not be knowing about, and would know only once you talk things over with him.

      Thanks for stopping by. :)

  33. ntathu allen

    May 12, 2012 at 3:10 am

    Harleena. This post is providing a safe space for everyone to open up and share our hurt and pain. That is a great tribute to you as a writer and container of peace. I find it inspiring and very heart warming to read everyone’s story of letting go and moving on. Thank you.

    • Profile photo of Harleena Singh

      Harleena Singh

      May 12, 2012 at 11:44 am

      Glad you could resonate with the post Ntathu!

      Thanks so much for those warm and kind words, and I hope posts like these are able to help people resolve their issues and overcome the hurt and pain in some ways. Yes indeed, when we read about other people’s story about how they have learnt to let go and move on in life, it does inspire us.

      I think when we make that sincere effort to resolve family conflicts and do our best to overcome the petty problems, things do start taking shape and get better – ins’t it?

      Thanks for stopping by. It’s always a pleasure to have you over. :)

  34. John Ernest

    July 8, 2012 at 9:59 am

    Another unfortunate cause of family conflicts is favoritism. I can’t stand parents who favor one child over the other. Being parents, it is important that you show equal love to all your kids no matter who they are, no matter who they have become, and no matter they are fond of doing because that is your duty as a parent.

    • Profile photo of Harleena Singh

      Harleena Singh

      July 8, 2012 at 11:47 am

      Glad you could relate to the post John!

      Yes indeed, favoritism does exist in many households and I’ve also wondered as to why parents really have to favor one child over the other. I guess they need to understand that it’s the feelings of their own child they are hurting in turn before doing anything of the kind.

      Children should always be treated as equal within a family and parents need to take steps to ensure that they don’t favor one over the other, because this can lead to family conflicts even later in their lives.

      Thanks for stopping by. :)

  35. KarenYvonne

    November 26, 2012 at 6:10 pm

    This is a great post!

    The step I tend to forget is the first one you mention “assess if the conflict is worth addressing”. Sometimes I tend to argue a point that need not be argued. thanks for your post

    • Profile photo of Harleena Singh

      Harleena Singh

      February 17, 2013 at 9:12 pm

      Welcome to the blog Karen!

      My apologies for the late reply – I guess I slipped this comment of yours, though am glad I’m here now. :)

      Yes indeed, sometimes there are things we can overlook or that aren’t worth raising a conflict. I guess passing those along works best to avoid family conflicts.

      Thanks for stopping by. :)

  36. Temilola Globalwalyy

    May 10, 2013 at 7:13 pm

    Dear Harleena

    Family Conflicts are hard to deal with, most especially if you really don’t know how to, maybe you are new to the type of conflicts..
    thanks for sharing this wonderful information

    Kind Regards
    Temilola

  37. Profile photo of Nicolas Vincent Rao

    Nicolas Vincent Rao

    October 21, 2014 at 7:50 pm

    Excellent family material.
    Not easy to put into practice but very real.
    The many facets of Harleena Singh are truly fascinating.
    Thanks Harleena.
    Nick

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