2 Conflict conflict: “expressed struggle between at least two interdependent parties, who perceive incompatible goals, scarce resources, and interference from the other party in achieving their goals.” ( Hocker & wilmot, 1998)Conflict happens when family members have different views or beliefs that they don’t agree on. Sometimes conflict can occur when people misunderstand each other and jump to the wrong conclusion. Issues of conflict that are not resolved peacefully can eventually lead to arguments and resentments.It is normal to disagree with each other from time to time. Occasional conflict is a part of a families life. However, ongoing conflict can be stressful and damaging to relationships. Some people find it difficult to manage their feelings and become intentionally hurtful, aggressive or even violent.
3 Conflict stylesEverybody has a different way of dealing with conflict. Your way of dealing with conflict may even differ with who you are in a conflict with or even what the conflict is about. Kilmann and Thomas created a model to show the different styles of conflict.They showed that there are styles of conflict that contain BOTH assertiveness (concern for self) and cooperativeness ( concern for others). The five styles are: competition, collaboration, compromise, avoiding, and accommodation. During different conflicts people may go back and forth between the different styles.There is a little test to see what style you may tend to use in conflicts:hhtp://academic.engr.arizona.edu/vjohnson/ConflictManagementQuestionnaire/ConflictManagementQuestionnaire.asp
4 Kilmann and Thomas Conflict Model ASSERTIVENESSCOOPERATIONhighlowCompetitionGoing after what you wantConcern for selfI win, you lose attitudeAccommodationMeet the needs of other person butdeny your own needsUnassertive but cooperativeCompromiseMeets the needs of everyoneinvolvedAvoidingConflict not addressedUnassertive and uncooperativeCollaborationConcern for others as well asselfOften find alternative solutionWin /win attitudesKilmann and Thomas Conflict Model
5 Common Causes of Conflict New jobLosing jobMarriage/learning to live as a coupleChange in financial circumstancesBirth of a child (for parents or siblings)Divorce/SeparationGetting sick/medical issues (self or family/friend)MovingDeath of a loved one
6 Types of Destructive Conflict CovertOvertFeelings are hiddenMessages are unclearUses five communication strategies:Denial (ex: deny deeper meanings of hurt “No problem” or “I am fine” )Disqualification (ex: cover up emotion “I wouldn’t have gotten upset except…”)Displacement (ex: anger is directed at inappropriate person)Disengagement (ex: avoid each other, express hostility through lack of interaction)Pseudomutuality (ex: image of perfect family displayed to others , never allowed to show that something is wrong)Hostile verbal aggressionPhysical aggressionCan lead to violenceThreats about being punished now or laterPhysically combative families can become used to it if it happens often enoughLessens family harmonyIs tied to power, influence, and decision making
7 Conflict ResolutionA very important part of conflict resolution is LISTENING! Some common suggestions for conflict resolution are:Listen to what the other person is sayingDon’t interrupt the other personCheck that you understand the otherperson by summarizing or asking questionsPut emotions asideTry to stay calmDo not bring up past issuesBe willing to compromise
8 Conflict Resolution Continued Respect the other person’s point of viewCommunicate your side of issue clearly and honestlyTry to find points of common groundSeparate the problem from the personFight fairlyRemember, the other person does NOT always have to agree withyou, or vice versa, you with them. Also the point is to resolve theconflict, NOT win the argument! And once the solution is decided on,STICK TO IT!
9 Possible Resources If Conflict Remains Unresolved FriendsFamilyYour doctorOther parentsFamily CounselorCops ( if conflict becomes violent)
10 ConclusionConflict is inevitable in families but it does not always mean that the conflict can not be positive, because it can be positive. Families will always have issues that cause conflict but if that conflict is managed constructively the family can grow stronger. Not everybody handles conflict the same way so families need to realize that and listen to each other, be willing to compromise, talk to each other, respect each other, and fight fairly. “…how effectively families communicate, at times of peace and pressure, ultimately makes the difference in the strength and longevity of our families and relationships.” (Bryce, 2009)
12 Reference ListBryce, N. (2009,March 04). How to Improve Communication and Reduce Conflict in Your Family. Enzine Articles Online. Retrieved from Galvin, K. M., Bylund, C. L., & Brommel, B. J. (2008) Family Communication Cohesion and Change. (7th ed.). Boston: Pearson Education, Inc. Sharland, A. (2011, March 23). Promoting Mindful Communication: Growth through Conflict. Retrieved from Victorian (Australian) State Government. (2009, October). Family conflict- how to cope. Retrieved from Better Health Channel Online.