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Family members fight like dogs and cats. For some, being family means doing away with social manners and graces. That is a major contributing factor in family squabbles. Things we wouldn't dream of doing to our neighbors and friends, we're doing them to our family. Familiarity breeds contempt. We lose our respect for our family with all their behind-the-scenes sloppiness and skeletons in the closet.

Family will cry over spilled milk
The initial anger behind the squabble is turned into resentment at what is seen as injustice at a wrong leveled at us. It's a human fallacy to expect family to be more accommodating of our shortcomings by virtue of being family. However, if both parties hold that concept, then there is no one to give way to become that accommodating family member. Nobody gives, both expect to take. With this kind of mentality, it's lose-lose for both.

If both family members are in a deadlock battle, then it may be time for an external mediator to step in. A third party can see things in a better perspective and help to become the go-between to negotiate peace and heal the rift.

If it is the other members who are fighting, you may want to help put an end to the bloodthirsty feud. A broken family is an incomplete family. If you are one of the combatants, then someone else within or without the family can become the peace-maker.

Decide to do something about the squabble now. Procrastination begets further excuses to delay approaching the matter. Time means letting resentment set in. It may also spark retaliation and the cycle of endless fighting goes on and on and on.

If you are the mediator, don't harbor favorites or prejudice for either of the combatants. That way, you'll. earn the trust of both parties and help to bridge the gulf.

Arrange for a conducive environment for the first meeting to break the ice. Its better to make it a private affair for this reconciliation meeting as both participants may not like to be seen as washing their dirty laundry in public.

Keep the discussion centered on solutions and make it clear that there should not be any attacks or confrontations of the past incidents.

Don't insist on fostering friendships immediately. Give them space. They may not return to the good ole times of closeness but at least they've spoken to each other again. You've killed the animosity and that's enough. You can lead a horse to the water but you can't force him to drink it.

Wait and see what happens. If nothing progresses, give them gentle nudges. Organize social get-togethers for both parties to be present. Slowly, the awkwardness will melt away. There will be the day when you'll see that your job as the peace-maker is over.