How to Resolve Family Problems and Conflicts
From your Parenting of K-6 Children Guide
Use the family meeting to work on family problems in a structured and non-threatening way. The objective of the meeting should be to arrive at a Win/Win solution for everyone.
- Clarify the problem. The parent moderator should introduce the general nature of the problem, then use the 'Go Around' technique to get each person's view of the problem.
- Go Around Questions: What is the problem as you see it? How does it affect you? What is your contribution to the problem?
- These are challenging questions. The family should listen to each speaker with respect and an attempt at understanding. Avoid interrupting or becoming defensive.
- The moderator should write down the points of agreement and disagreement as they arise.
- Brainstorm solutions. Go around as many times as necessary to come up with a list of possible solutions to the problem. Don't analyze the solutions now. Just write them all down.
- Go through the list of possible solutions to narrow them down to the best solution for all family members.
- Use the 'Go Around' technique to get each person's view on what is the best solution for everyone. Ask 'Which of these do you think is the best solution? Why? Is it fair to everyone?'
- Select the best solution. Get commitment from each person to make the solution work.
- Decide what each person will do to implement the solution. This is the time to come up with responsibilities, rewards, limits, consequences and other agreed upon commitments.
- Go around one more time with each family member stating what specific action they will take to solve the problem.
- For the solution to work, everyone has to be convinced that their input has been considered and that it is the best thing for each of them.
- If someone's comments hit your emotional hot button, don't respond defensively. Remain silent, then communicate your position while maintaining respect for the other's viewpoint.
More How To's from your Guide to Parenting of K-6 Children