Family, like in any other society is an important symbol that binds people together and also represents a bond of unity and structure that builds nations across the world.
Families are faced with several problems such as poverty, illness, domestic violence, insecurity and even neglect. However, homes with families are often faced with strife amongst the parents, children and other relatives.
Strife can stem from disagreements or arguments and at times one may not know how they started and yet they love one another.
It’s important to understand that differences in opinion do not mean your family life is disintegrating but how you handle these disagreements can determine the tranquility or hostility of a home.
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These few steps can help eliminate strife in a home;
1. Stop retaliating
It takes two people to argue, but when one decides to listen instead of speaking then both people can avoid a heated moment.
Resist the need to retaliate when provoked and maintain self-control, respect & dignity. You won’t lose anything because remember peace in family is more precious than winning arguments.
2. Acknowledge each other’s feelings
Active listening without interrupting the other party does much to reduce anger and restore peace in a family. Acknowledge the other person’s feelings and don’t resort to malice.
Avoid saying hurtful things that are a result of anger, thoughtlessness or a vengeful feeling. Think about the family and try to maintain a loving mood and environment.
3. Give yourself time to cool down
If your emotions are volatile, then it is wise to excuse yourself and walk away for a short time to cool down. Take an evening walk or do something to take the load off your mind and regain your composure.
Don’t compare this to evasive, silent treatment or uncooperative behavior but rather a moment in time where one can cool off and bring down the temper. This will help one engage the other concerned party more calmly.
4. Be careful with what needs to be said and how you say it
It does not improve the situation if all you do is talk back in anger without considering what you say to the other person. Try approaching the person humbly and asking what the matter is and how both of you can find a solution.
This gives room for both parties to think about the other’s thoughts and feelings than dictating the situation. “Thoughtless speech is like the stabs of a sword, but the tongue of the wise is a healing,” – Proverbs 12:18
5. Keep your tone down
The tone you use during a confrontation can play a huge role on how the strife or argument ends. Resist the urge to be sarcastic or insulting or raising your voice no matter how offended you feel.
Physical violence, threats or contemptuous comments won’t help at all either but rather have a heart of compassion and humility. Approach the matter calmly and ask what’s wrong to avoid a heated argument.
6. Be quick to forgive and apologize
Don’t let negative emotions rule your judgment but instead try your level best to resort to a peaceful understanding. Fighting is a losing game but making peace works for both the family and you.
Simply put, take responsibility for your actions and play your part in settling the dispute. Even when you are convinced that you aren’t in the wrong, you can still apologize for any irrational behavior.
Family is an important aspect and should always be considered first. Think of the children and your other members and set aside your differences for a better living.
Allan Bangirana is a freelance writer for Newslibre and Spur Magazine. He is also the co-founder of the Innovware project and a freelance consultant passionate about tech, programming, games and entertainment.