Managing Conflict in Pandemic Homes
We love our friends & family… we really do but… honestly who HASN’T had their fair share of friend/family arguments over the past year? There are always positive and negative ways to approach these arguments, some ways can even strengthen your relationships! Week 3 of our Summer Social Media Series talks about managing conflict in pandemic (and post-pandemic) homes.
First of all, it’s important to note the difference between conflict and abuse. Conflict is a struggle to balance power in a relationship and can be resolved, whereas abuse is power over another which is intended to silence and maintain the power imbalance. If one person is ever at risk of harm or increasingly isolated, chances are we are talking about abuse and you want to focus on keeping yourself safe (safety planning) rather than conflict resolution. If so, our friends at Kids Help Phone has a great safety planning tool at the link below.
Safety Planner - Kids Help Phone
But for conflict, keep reading to learn more!
As crazy as this may sound, we’re big fans of conflict and we hope you will be too after
reading this! Conflicts can be approached negatively and positively. Some conflicts you may even WANT to have because it can strengthen your relationships. As long as the conflict is respectful and everyone involved is looking for a solution, conflict is the key to a healthy relationship and home.
“Good Conflicts” should be treated as a
chance to make it right and compromise and leads to closer relationships. “Bad Conflicts” happen when both parties just want to be right and leave no room for compromise or mutual solutions. This leads to resentment between parties and even increased conflict.
So, what can we do to assure every conflict is a good one?
Try a Mulligan! A "mulligan" is a do-over in many games/sports & is helpful when you’re off to a bad start. During conflicts, call a mulligan when *blaming, *shaming, or *steamrolling become involved. Take a breather and start again when everyone can be respectful to each other.
*Blaming – assigning responsibility for a person’s character or action. Ex) “Well maybe if you weren’t so stubborn…”
*Shaming – public exposure or criticism intended to put down another. Ex) “You’re acting like a child!”
*Steamrolling – advancement through a conversation with little to no pause or thought between. Ultimately a one-sided conversation where neither party is listening to each other.
Remember from Day 2, conflict isn’t about being right or the other person being wrong, it’s about finding a compromise that works for both parties! So when someone calls a mulligan, take some time to think about what you want to say and where you’re open to compromise to find a solution.
Feelings matter! Sometimes we get caught up in the argument and forget how our words may be making the other person feel. Conflict histories are unique to each person. Some people may even shut down when you raise your voice to protect themselves from threat & our goal in a conflict is never to silence the other person (Recall from Day 1). If you can sense the tone becoming negative, take a step back, take a breath, and try again in a more respectful manner to resolve the conflict.
Some things you may feel when an argument is getting heated could be your fists or jaw clenching, your body getting warmer, rapid heart rate, or even shaking. Learn to recognize these signs so that you can catch yourself before an argument gets carried away and you might say something you don’t really mean that could ultimately hurt your relationship.
Always be on the lookout for the low blows!
“You’re such a…”
These statements followed by hurtful words or accusations introduce the notion of shame into the conversation. Shame is an attack against the person (vs. stating what they did) and pushes people down instead of working towards a solution to the conflict. If one of these statements starts to slip out in the heat of the moment, apologize and try again without shaming.
Thank you for joining us again this week!
If you missed last week, go ahead and check out our summary blog for Week 2: Staying Safe & Connected in Digital Communities. Follow us on social media and stay tuned for next week when we’re going to learn about how being a helper in your relationships can be counterproductive.