We learn many life and social skills from our family interaction – one essential skill is how to fight fair. Yes, arguments will occur within our families but learning how to turn those arguments into productive conversations is a skill that everyone can use throughout their lives.
First and foremost, arguments should not get physical. That is a sign for an immediate time out. If this occurs, please make sure you know the signs of domestic violence and get the appropriate help.
Raised voices and over-talking one another will solve nothing. Take the time to use active listening to ensure that everyone involved gets to speak but is, also, truly heard. Do not yell and use words specifically meant to hurt someone’s feelings or attack them personally. Appoint a neutral party, if necessary.
“Relax, relate, release” – Debbie Allen played a counselor in an episode of A Different World and gave these words of advice to Jasmine Guy’s character, Whitley Gilbert. They have become a catch phrase for me in so many situations with life and can definitely be applied to learning how to fight fair. Take a moment (or two or three) to calm down, think about how the other person is feeling, share your feelings and find a way to move forward together.
Avoid using terms like “always” and “never” – usually these are exaggerations or over-generalizations. Be specific about the issue at hand and use realistic examples.
Do not make assumptions, guesses, or speculations – ask specific questions if you are unsure of something. It is very easy for a misunderstanding to occur from a perceived wrong.
Don’t make threats or give ultimatums. Find ways to compromise by seeking to understand what each person truly wants and needs. Brainstorm solutions and be willing to compromise.
At the end of the day, remember that you are both on the same team – you win and lose together, in the long run.
What suggestions do you have for fighting fair within families?
Welcome to our weekly Making a Happy Home post. One of my focuses this year is home life. Specifically spending more quality time together, organization, cooking and pre-planning meals, and decorating. To help with that focus, I have this weekly post for all things home-life. If you’d like to contribute as guest poster with this series, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org