Avoiding Family Feuds

Salli's Divorce Support Blog

I recently read some great tips on things to say to avoid family feuds--highly important as your family faces the challenges of divorce.

Tip #1

"I need your help. Can you help me please?" This is what you say when you are dealing with someone who doesn't step up to help out. An example might be, if you have lots going on and need some assistance and you want others to help carry the load, consider saying something like, "I'm planning a great dinner for tonight and I wondered if you would mind helping me out. Will you set the table and make a salad, please?" This way, you get the help you need without feeling over taxed or resentful because others aren't carrying their share of the load.

Tip #2

"What do you mean by that?" Asking this question--in a genuine way--is all it takes to avoid an argument. This allows the other person to explain themselves before you jump to conclusions. What may sound like a critical statement may not necessarily be one, so ask for clarification about what they mean before jumping to conclusions and responding in a manner that may lead to a quarrel.

Tip #3

"Thank you for your opinion. I'll consider it." If someone in your family volunteers unwanted advice, keep your composure and repeat these two simple phrases. Don't become unkind and defensive; remember: you want to model the behaviors you hope others will pattern.

Teaching kindly responses to your family members allows everyone to see how much better life can be when we are more sensitive to each other in our interactions. The aim is to keep the mood pleasant and bring out the best in each other. 

My ideas come from Val Baldwin at valbaldwin.com. Check out her website for more great relationship ideas.

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Divorced and full of fret and regret, I found my 'Reason for Living' on the internet. Now, my life is lots of fun, married in Portland, Oregon.

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