How To Resolve Family Conflict - Get Help Or DIY?
All happy families are alike, but every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way (Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina, 1878)
Your family can’t seem to stop fighting or arguing. The household never feels peaceful. Every day something happens and you can’t figure it out. Maybe your children aren’t getting along or perhaps you and your spouse can’t seem to get on the same page for discipline. Round and round the same fights go and you are exhausted from being at your house. In fact, most days you would rather be anywhere than there playing referee and feeling constantly blamed.
You don’t know what to do. Your sleep is affected, your moods are down, and you seem to have no energy left after all the fighting.
So, now you wonder, do I get help for my family conflict or do I keep trying to do it myself? How do I know when is the right time to see a family therapist?
How Long Has The Family Conflict Lasted?
If this family conflict has only lasted a week or so, I would say do it yourself. This is a great time to plan a family night or date night to reconnect. Once you have reconnected and feel attached, generally behaviors or fights stop. When we laser in on the behavior or fight, new ones tend to appear. This is a great place to put it aside for a night, come back together, and then approach it if needed.
If the conflict has lasted longer than two weeks, seems to have no end, or seems to be impacting you in ways such as at work, in friendships, or in your daily life--this is a great time to bring in a professional to work with your family and get you back on track.
If you had a physical problem that kept persisting and kept you from living your life, you would visit a doctor to get a check-up, maybe a prescription, or helpful advice. The same goes for therapy.
Have You Talked To Your Support System About How To Resolve The Family Conflict?
Another great way to DIY solve family conflict with your family is to check in with your support system. If any of your friends or family have been through something similar and would be open to talking about it, they can be great to consult. If not, is there anyone in your life who will listen as you talk about it and help you problem-solve or will affirm your decision?
However, you may not have anyone you want to go to and be vulnerable about what’s going on or perhaps you just don’t have the right person to talk to. This is a great time to see a therapist. Therapists can guarantee confidentiality and will be able to help you and your family approach the conflict in a new light.
Are There Deeper Issues Under The Family Conflict?
Sometimes the current conflict is only the tip of the iceberg. If you look deeper, you may see other challenges such as trust, trauma, attachment, power struggles, or struggles over values. If there is more under the surface of your family conflict, it may need to be addressed by a professional and fixed or else the same cycle will keep happening again and again.
Does The Family Conflict Keep Coming Back In Other Ways?
If it is a one-time family conflict, you may be able to solve it. However, if this problem has been going on for a long time and you keep having the same fight or battle again and again with no end in sight--this is a great time to consult a professional.
Sometimes we get stuck in communication loops or patterns of behavior and therapy can be a great way to address those loops or patterns of behavior. Each family member can work on understanding their role in the conflict, how they keep it going, and how to disrupt the loop next time.
Can You Keep Going Like It Is?
The last question I will leave you with is, can you keep going with the current level of family conflict? If nothing changed, would you still be healthy, happy, and enjoy being at home? If the answer is yes, then you most likely don’t need therapy and can resolve this issue on your own.
If the answer is no, then it may be time to book a family therapy session.
Family therapy can seem scary or daunting and it can be hard to pick the right person. However, you deserve a happy, healthy family that knows how to keep conflict to a minimum and enjoys spending time together. You deserve to be the parent that enjoys their kids and wants to hang out with them. If you can fix your family conflict, great. If you are ready for help, call Willow Tree Healing Center at (757)296-8794 to schedule your complimentary consultation..
Mary Willoughby Romm is a licensed professional counselor in the state of Virginia who provides online therapy for Willow Tree Healing Center. She enjoys transforming the lives of women, college students, kids, tweens/teens, and families. She is certified in Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (ages 2-7) and Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.