Do spousal spats or sibling squabbles at home take their toll on you and your family? If so, you’re not alone. Most all families argue, some more than others.
The New York Times article entitled Lessons in Domestic Diplomacy, is summed up with these 5 strategies to minimize – and even eliminate – hostilities for greater peace and harmony in your home:
1. Timing is everything.
Research shows the biggest fights happen during transitions from work to home schedules, often between 6 and 8 p.m., or getting the kids off to school. The lesson? Wait until everyone is fed, has changed clothes, and had some private time before starting a serious discussion.
2. Plan your position.
You can keep tensions at bay by simply making sure everyone is seated at the same level with roughly a similar posture. In other words, one person is not seated higher than another or leaned back with feet on a desk. These are generally construed as “power positions.” By the same token, sitting alongside the other person has also been shown to increase collaboration
3. Pad your seat.
Believe it or not, according to a recent study, people tend to be more rigid and inflexible when they sit on a “hard-wooden chair.” Conversely, when seated on a “soft cushioned chair,” they are more accommodating and generous, and more open to the opinions of others.
So, if you need to have a serious talk with your spouse or child, chances are you would fare better by sitting side by side with them on padded or cushioned seats.
4. Avoid the “You” word.
Instead of pointing blame, describe how you experienced the other person’s actions. In other words, express how the other person’s actions made you feel. To minimize backlash, avoid statements like “You always say that” or “You never do this.”
5. Own the impact.
When there’s anything you can take responsibility for in an argument, it’s best to do so with sincerity. For instance, instead of simply apologizing, recognize, and express the impact your actions had on the other person. This is a powerful way to deepen any relationship.
Conflict doesn’t have to drive us apart. Instead, we can think of conflict as an opportunity to learn where the other person is coming from and address the conflict it intentionally rather than emotionally. And when we do, we gain the power to not only resolve conflicts but to bring us closer together to the ones we love.
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