This pandemic has been tough on all of us. The isolation, lack of social connections, and added stress can cause us to feel edgy. Working from home, our kids doing online school at home, and our social time being spent mostly at home means we are spending much more time together as families. Mostly, this is a great thing, but it might also mean conflict in the home has increased. I thought it would be timely to offer some tips for managing conflict that can reduce distress at home.
Positive Ways to Deal with Conflict:
Take a moment to think about why you are upset
Usually your feelings run a little deeper than “You are being too loud while I am in a zoom meeting!” Maybe you are feeling displaced because you don’t have adequate office space at home.
Choose one topic to discuss
When we are upset, it is easy to get carried away and bring up everything that has bothered us about that person since the beginning of time. It is much more productive to discuss and resolve the issue at hand.
No name calling!
Calling names is unproductive, may cause long-term hurt feelings, and does not resolve the problem. Focus on the problem, not the person.
Use “feeling” words
By expressing how you feel, using “I” statements, you will be taken more seriously and others will be motivated to generate a solution.
Wait your turn
Everyone deserves an opportunity to say what they want to say. A good rule of thumb is: You have 2 ears and 1 mouth, listen twice as much as you speak.
No silent treatment
This is called “stonewalling”. No problem can be resolved by refusing to engage in a discussion. It takes effort to resolve conflict, so it is important to avoid this hurtful retreat response.
Keep your voice in check
Yelling causes people to shut down and walk away. If you can take a deep breath and talk in a normal tone of voice, much more productive discussions will evolve.
Take a break
If you feel emotionally charged, take a moment by yourself before you address the issue that is upsetting you. When we address conflict while we are emotionally heated, we often say hurtful things we do not mean to say.