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Disagreeing now and then is a normal part of family life. Sharing your feelings—and your frustrations—is important even if it sometimes causes an argument. And avoiding all conflict can be unhealthy for relationships.
But arguing all the time—with your partner or other family members—can be harmful for your kids and the family. So it's important to be careful about how you deal with conflict in your family. You can learn to disagree in respectful, constructive ways.
Here are some ideas.
Your child or teen learns from your example. They may learn to resolve conflicts with others by watching how you act. So avoid being disrespectful, raising your voice or having big arguments in front of your children. They'll likely act the same way that you do when you're in an argument.
Remind them that even when people who love each other argue sometimes—and it doesn't mean you're going to stay mad. Explain that arguing once in a while is normal when you live with other people, and that arguments are going to happen between adults, between children, and between adults and children. Encourage your child to share how they feel about family disagreements.
Try to deal with bigger issues that need to be addressed. With smaller issues, sometimes it's okay to let it go. Ask yourself: Will it matter to me next week?
If certain disagreements happen often, figure out what's causing the issue. Work together to find a solution. Try to focus on solving the problem instead of blaming the person. If more serious arguments with a spouse, partner, or child happen often, consider getting professional help from a counsellor.
As older kids and teens become more independent, conflicts are more likely to happen. Arguments can be stressful. But they can also help children build communication skills and learn how to set boundaries.
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Adaptation Date: 3/1/2022
Adapted By: Alberta Health Services
Adaptation Reviewed By: Alberta Health Services
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