The family is the basic fundamental unit of the society. The American society is premised on the societal values. Within the American society, the nuclear family is the common type of household. However, some societies still value the extended family. The common factor that is common to all families is relationships. When relationships within family members begin to strain, conflicts are likely to ensue. A conflict is a protracted disagreement with the potential of straining the relations that may exist amongst people (Nelson et al 44). A conflict may be in the form of a disagreement amongst people or war. Conflict may be mild and reconcilable and in some cases, conflict may be severe relations. This paper aims to discuss the context of conflicts providing relevant history, major issues of conflict, communication methodologies used to resolve issues, recommendation for effective strategies to consider in resolve conflicts and recommendations.
Within the family structure and set up, conflicts tend to arise from the different background of individuals that constitute the entire family. A family is often started when a man and women marry. The family history of the duo may lead to the conflicts. Cultural variations are the primary cause of conflicts in families. Religion, ethnicity and social class are some of the cultural differences that may lead to conflict. Within the modern society, conflicts arise from the lifestyle issues and the changing gender roles. Within the family set up, there are social roles that are often assigned to men and women within the society. A lady may not subscribe to the ideologies that are upheld by a man concerning the roles that each has to play within the community. Work and leisure may also be additional cases of conflict that may arise within the family. Traditionally, women are expected to play the nurturing role within the family. Therefore, the society expects the women to take of children and house chores. However, women empowerment campaign has led to more women getting into employment, leading to men and women playing an equal role in nurturing the family. In the case where the man seems to uphold the traditionalistic views, a conflict may ensue. Careers also lead to conflicts when parents are not able to attend to the needs of their children. In various incidences within the American society, absentee parenthood has led to children lacking role model that in turn leads them to break laws and making wrong decisions within the society, thus, conflicts.
The study of conflicts in the family has a set of limitations. The limitations are based on the heterogeneous nature of the family. The studies on family conflicts are based on the divergent opinions that are existent amongst members of a family. The society and not the family often set the values that are used as a plumb line for measuring the extent of the conflicts. Another limitation in the study of conflicts within families is the legal framework that is used to establish the extent of the conflicts. Usually, some people use the customary laws while others utilize the formal statuary laws (Zhu 118). As such, there are no standard recommendations from the previous studies that can be utilized in all the family conflict situations.
The major issues of conflict within the family set up include in-laws, sibling rivalry, financial security and child discipline. Finances directly related to jobs. When a family member is in full-time employment that keeps him or her away from the family, the other family members feel rejected, and when the spouse is not in gainful employment, the family may feel not well taken care of. Finances are needed to meet the essential needs of the family such as food and mortgage (Glaser 33). Where there are no adequate finances to sort out the bills, conflicts are likely to ensue. Sibling rivalry often results when a parent cares for one child more than the other leading to envy building amongst the two children. Disciplining of a child may also create conflict amongst the parents. When one parent is a consoler, and the other is a disciplinarian, the two may openly disagree on the best way to discipline their child. The indulgence of the in-laws in the affairs of a family may lead to conflicts, as the in-laws tend to take a hard stance in defense of their child, who happens to be a spouse in a family, thus, leading to a conflict.
There are communication methodologies that can be utilized in solving conflicts that are existent amongst families. There is a need for family members to be open with each other and say out the issues that could be affecting them (Glaser and Tracy 177). A taciturn or talkative behavior may not lead to a permanent solution in solving the family conflicts. Additionally, couples need to have a mechanism of talking about their emotions and how they feel about what is going on in their families rather than the exciting news such as movies and comedies. Third, there is a need for families to embrace self-disclosure in their communication styles to ensure that vent out whenever they are wronged and honestly share their opinions with the intent of seeking a solution. Self-disclosure averts a conflict that may take place within a family.
According to Bannink (46), the fundamental step recommended for family conflict resolution is first to try to identify the source of the conflict. In identifying the source of the conflict, there is a purpose in understanding the causes of the conflict. The more information a family therapist has on the issue of concern, the more it becomes easy to find a solution to the problem. The identification procedure that proves significant in the problem identification should be one that does not show any form of bias nature or selectivity. Therefore, a series of questions to identify the cause should be employed. In asking as many questions as possible related to problem identification, a family therapist finds a variety of ways to offering various intervention methods that help solve the problem.
Moreover, the family therapist who is acting as the mediator should take the responsibility of giving both the conflicting parties an equal opportunity to express their grievances (Bannink, 98). This is the basic recommended procedure, in which a platform for equal opportunity is offered for the parties to give their sides of the story. In so doing, an opportunity of better understanding is created in that, there is a certain level of impartiality as would be seen by the conflicting parties hence they feel encouraged and tend to open up.
Correspondingly, there is essence in looking at the incidences of the conflict from various perspectives. The ability to understand the problem by not concentrating on the particular conflict itself gives the opportunity to see the causes from other points of view (Manne, 109). For example, the problem could be one that had occurred sometimes in the past and has been revoked by some particular repeat of the same. Therefore, the mediator or rather the family therapist finds the best common agreement that is acceptable to both the conflicting parties.
In offering permanent solutions to family conflicts, recommendation is that the family together with the conflicting members of the family should consider making their relationships a priority as opposed to focusing to whoever wins during the mediation process (Manne, 221). This significant step to long-lasting solution is achievable by inculcating among the family members the importance of respect and need to accommodate one anothers different view point on a given subject of matter or direction of thought.
The family in its entirety should be made aware of the need to use their past history as a learning process to keep their family relationships together. From the past , the family can maximize on their present by avoiding the wrongs done in the past and retaining the good at present. In focusing on the present rather than the past, the family members learn to let go of old hurts and resentments in realization that holding on to such past hurts and resentments can only do harm by impairing their ability to focus on the good (Scannell, 213). As such, the family is made aware of the importance of not picking battles which are not worth the time and energy input.
Finally, the families in order to install permanent and long lasting solutions to their conflicts, should learn to forgive. In forgiveness, the urge and guilt to retaliate dies. Forgiveness means understanding that staying with guilt or urge to punish do not compensate the harm done, thus, there is purpose in positive reactions towards avoiding instances of repeated derailing and draining the family lives (Scannell, 198).
Bannink, Fredrike. Handbook of Solution-Focused Conflict Management. Cambridge: Hogrefe Pub, 2010. Computer file.
Glaser, Wendy, and Tracy D. Hecht. "Work-Family Conflicts, Threat-Appraisal, Self-Efficacy and Emotional Exhaustion." Journal of Managerial Psychology, vol. 28, no. 2, 2013., pp. 164-182doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/02683941311300685.
Glaser, Wendy. The Dynamic Relations between Work and Family Conflicts and Emotional Exhaustion: Above and Beyond the Stressor-Outcome Model, Concordia University (Canada), Ann Arbor, 2007.http://search.proquest.com/docview/304794831?accountid=45049.
Manne, J. Family constellations: A practical guide to uncovering the origins of family conflict. (2009). Berkeley, Calif: North Atlantic Books.
Nelson, William A., PhD., et al. "The Organizational Costs of Ethical Conflicts." Journal of Healthcare Management, vol. 53, no. 1, 2008., pp. 41-52; discussion 52-3http://search.proquest.com/docview/206731032?accountid=45049.
Scannell, Mary. The Big Book of Conflict Resolution Games: Quick, Effective Activities to Improve Communication, Trust, and Collaboration. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2010. Internet resource.
Zhu, Liang. Re-Examining the Effects of Employment Mode on Work-Family Conflict: A Mediated Moderation Model, Purdue University, Ann Arbor, 2010.http://search.proquest.com/docview/862358205?accountid=45049.
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