When you think of family conflict, you probably think of an argument, a dispute, a spat. Depending on your context, you might think about anger and blow ups.
Most of us don’t like conflict. In fact, for many people, their conflict style is to avoid it. They pretend like it never happened and move on.
The problem with that approach is that the conflict gathers like dust under the carpet and eventually accumulates to a giant pile. Everyone knows it’s there, but no one wants to address it. And the family breaks apart, or simply doesn’t thrive.
But our families don’t have to break apart if we recognize some basic truths about conflict:
- Conflict is reality. We are going to have conflict. We are a broken people. The only question is, when conflict comes our way, how we are going to manage it? Will we avoid it or address it?
- Conflict isn’t just a one-time dispute. It’s far more contextual and systemic. It’s often the result of ingrained family patterns and lifestyle decisions playing themselves out. Family consultant Blair Trippe says that conflict is systemic, meaning that it evolves over time. More than expecting to resolve it, we should learn to manage it. Understanding the system and context is often the first key to better management.
- Conflict can create understanding and restoration. When we manage conflict with the goals of understanding one another and restoring the relationship, we produce an environment of encouragement and freedom.
Why does healthy conflict matter? We all want to be part of great families—thriving family legacies. If we manage conflict well, we will only enhance our chances of success for generations.
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Published July 26, 2022
Topics: Family Legacy