Inevitably, if there’s more than one person living in your house, at some point in time there will be arguments. The trick is to learn how to handle household arguments effectively while maintaining loving relationships.
Amazingly, many people treat complete strangers better than they treat their own spouse or children. As important as it is to treat others well, it’s more important to treat those you love even better.
How to Avoid Arguments
The best way to handle arguments at home is to avoid them in the first place. How do you do this? Avoid miscommunication. Repeat what the other person is saying so there’s no doubt about their intended meaning. Resolve not to fight over misunderstandings.
Here are some communication tips that can help your family avoid arguments:
1. Be gentle. Try to control the tone of your voice, the look on your face, and your body language when you’re talking with family members. If you speak with a gentle tone, arguments are less likely to start.
2. Trust. Develop a solid relationship with your spouse and children by keeping lines of communication open, building trust between all family members, and giving each other the benefit of the doubt.
3. Respect privacy. Keep your disagreements strictly between the parties involved rather than discussing them in the open. This also means that you must avoid arguing in front of your children.
How to Handle Arguments
If an argument does occur, here are some ideas to handle it effectively:
1. Time out! Stop the argument if it becomes a shouting match with one insult after another. Ask for five minutes to think about what’s already been said. This will give both parties a chance to calm down and regain their composure.
2. Be willing to accept that you may be wrong. During the course of the time out, did you realize you were in the wrong? Listen to the other person’s side of the story before you assert your own innocence. You may have said or done something unknowingly that hurt the other person.
3. Apologize. Be sure to express remorse over your part in the problem and try not to do it again. Ask the other person to forgive you.
4. Is someone hurting? Realize that the other person may be hurt in some way, but it may be expressed through anger, tears, or insults. By arguing, they may actually be reaching out for help or support.
5. Hormones and illness. Maybe one person has been ill and is really striking out at others just because they feel bad.
6. Above all, love! Remember that no matter what the argument is about, you love the other person. Your goal should be to come to a solution where both parties win.
7. Forgive. Once the situation has been resolved, forgive one another and forget about the whole thing. Determine not to bring the situation up again. It’s over; let it go.
When Your Children Argue
There are many things you can do to promote harmony between your children and reduce their conflicts. Try these ideas to keep the peace:
1. Avoid comparing your children. They’re individuals and should be treated that way. Be sure to let your children know how special they are.
2. Establish rules and household responsibilities. This will let them know what’s expected of them.
* Include rules about how they should treat one another. Let them know that hitting and name-calling are off limits in your home.
* Decide as a family what the consequences will be if they break the rules.
3. Give each child your attention. Many disagreements between children are based upon trying to get their parent’s attention.
* If you reinforce to each child that they’re special and that you love them, they’ll have less reason for arguing and more reason to dwell in the family’s love. In the long run, each person in the family makes the decision to argue or not. If you decide that you won’t be dragged into an argument, the argument will often end of its own accord.
These are not the only ways to effectively handle household arguments, but they may be enough to make the arguments less frequent so your family feels more secure, loved, and peaceful.