Family Conflict

Home should be a place where everyone can feel safe and cared for. It is sad when families are in conflict, especially at home. It is hard on adults and kids too.

Everything is always changing, nothing in life stays the same. You may have been in the happiest family ever but then something changes and suddenly people are getting upset and angry and the family isn’t happy anymore.

Family conflict can cause:

• A new baby
• Someone in the family loses his job.
• Someone leaves the house.
• Parents separate.
• A young person becomes an adult.
• You move somewhere else away from friends.
• Mum, dad or a caregiver have to be away a lot for work.
• Another family member moves into the house.
• You have to move in with your grandparents or other family members for a while.
• Someone in the family dies.
• Someone in the family breaks the law and gets into trouble.
• Someone is very sick and needs lots of care.

The only way things are going to improve is if people sit down, talk together and try to work things out.

For this to work there needs to be:

• Honest talking.
• Active listening, without interruptions.
• Calm quiet voices, not angry shouting ones.
• Everyone wanting to sort things out.
• Everyone saying how they feel without blaming anyone or saying that someone ‘makes’ them feel like this. No one can ‘make’ someone feel anything. We are all in charge of our own feelings.
• Everyone getting a chance to say what should happen in future.
• Everyone is willing to sort things out rather than winning the argument.
• Everyone respecting each other’s right to an opinion.

What needs to be done?

• Arrange a time to talk with everyone involved.
• Talk clearly and quietly.
• Each one says what he or she feels is the problem.
• Talk about or list solutions to the problem.
• Work through suggestions to find something that all can agree with.
• Agree to try and talk again if things are not working out.
• Write down the problems and what each person needs to do to make things better.

Be prepared to compromise and let others get some of what they want so that you can get some of what you want.

If your family is fighting and it is uncomfortable or upsetting, or even frightening to be at home sometimes, then you need to make sure that you keep yourself safe. If there is violence in the home then you need to get away from it and get help.

Get out of the way if there is violence happening. Talk to your trusted adults and tell them how you feel. You could go to a friend or neighbor, ring someone else in your family or even call the Police if someone is being hurt.

Everyone gets angry or upset at times but the only way to work things out is to talk through the problems and decide what each person needs to do to make things better. Everyone needs to do their best to help make the family happy again.