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All of us have experienced family conflicts. Learning to resolve conflicts promotes a happier family life. It’s important to resolve conflicts because your health is affected. Many illnesses are stress-related, and unresolved problems just lead to more stress, something we all have enough of. Below you’ll find some tips to help you and your family handle problems in a positive fashion.

Decide on a Time to Discuss Things

It’s better to set a time to discuss problems than to do it as you’re on your way out the door to work, when you don’t have time to discuss anything anyway.

Family Meetings

Sit the whole family down once a week and give each person a chance to say what has been good and bad for them in the family the past week. Establish the rules below for all discussions.

Learn to Fight Fair

Bringing up past events in an argument does no good. One aspect of fighting fair is sticking to the topic at hand.

Stay Calm

By staying calm and speaking in a reasonable voice, you’ll be much less likely to further irritate someone who’s upset.

Don’t threaten

Don’t make threats, including withholding favors or breaking previous promises.

Use “I” Messages

Learn to say, “I feel angry when…,” instead of “You make me so angry!” or “It’s all your fault.” People receive the first type of message much better.

If you’ve tried everything else, seriously consider getting an outside person to mediate disputes. Your minister, priest, rabbi, or a trained counselor can go a long way in helping you to figure out how to resolve specific conflicts.

Whatever you do, relax. Take deep breaths often during discussions, and let your family know how much you appreciate them on a daily basis. You’ll find life is much easier when your relationships with your family are more peaceful.