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How to Avoid Family Conflict

author image Linda Ray
Linda Ray is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years reporting experience. She's covered business for newspapers and magazines, including the "Greenville News," "Success Magazine" and "American City Business Journals." Ray holds a journalism degree and teaches writing, career development and an FDIC course called "Money Smart."
How to Avoid Family Conflict
Mother and father talking to their son in the hallway. Photo Credit: JackF/iStock/Getty Images

Family conflicts can seem like the most intense disagreements because they involve the people to whom you are closest. Family of origin relationships carry a long history that can involve ongoing issues, while in-laws sometimes bring a whole new bag of potential conflicts because of cultural and political differences. At the same time, your immediate family is made up of the people who demand attention daily. While you may not always agree with your family members, you can avoid conflict by setting boundaries and choosing your battles.

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Step 1

Set boundaries for conflict resolution. According to Healthy, disagreements and debate are healthy components of most relationships and need not be completely avoided as long as everyone present sticks to preset rules. For example, when voices begin to rise, you may elect to end the discussion and agree to continue it when tempers subside.

Step 2

Choose your battles. According to counselors at the Salvation Army, it's better to let certain issues slide rather than make a big deal about every difference, especially around the holidays when tension is high and family togetherness is expected.

Step 3

Encourage your family to end an ongoing conflict by setting up a meeting for that purpose. According to the Clemson Extension Service, a family can learn to collaborate to end conflicts by practicing. Appoint one person to moderate the discussion and keep talking until you come up with a solution to the conflict.

Step 4

Remain neutral when a touchy subject comes up. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, the family member who can stay neutral during family conflicts can help each family member articulate her thoughts. You then can rephrase the sentiments to try to come to mutual understandings and find compromise.

Step 5

Plan your time together so little room is left for arguing. When preparing a family reunion or holiday event, carefully construct a plan that has everyone busy with activities, eating and chores to divert their attention from brewing conflicts. If you can't arrange for everyone to stay busy, at least make sure your time is well-choreographed.

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