Q&A: Resolving family conflict

Q: With the festive seasons drawing near, I’m really NOT looking forward to getting together with family, because there’s a lot of unresolved conflict just beneath the surface. Do you have any advice for handling an awkward situation?

A: The beautiful thing about family is the deep connection that binds members together through thick and thin. From the joys of childbirth to grief at funerals, the bonds of family will connect your worlds again and again throughout life.

But those ties can also have a dark side when conflict is involved. Family members can stew over even petty arguments for years. And it can be especially difficult to bring resolution to disagreements if neither party is willing to take a step toward peace.

The most challenging step is also the most pivotal. And that’s for you to take the initiative to try to rebuild a bridge – before everyone is together. Even if you feel another family member is at fault, make the first move and show some love and grace. Try sending a card or email with something simple like, “I miss our friendship – let’s start over,” or, “I’m sorry we’ve had tension in our relationship. What can I do to help resolve it?”

Even if they don’t respond, you’ll know you did your part to establish peace and goodwill this holiday season. If you’d like to talk about your situation, call our Family Support Services at 03-7954 7920 or write to support@family.org.

© 2018 Focus on the Family.  All rights reserved.  Used by permission.

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