How to reduce family arguments

“Not all arguments are unavoidable and not all arguments are bad. In fact, it’s good for children to see that disagreements can be resolved and discussed calmly, so don’t give yourself too much of a hard time if sometimes tempers get frayed. No matter how much you look forward to the family being together at holiday times and weekends, it does increase the potential for tensions and arguments. To help avoid those arguments our family counsellors have come up with their top tips on reducing family rows.”

Show that you’re listening

One of the best things you can do as a parent it to make sure you acknowledge every demand a child has. For example if your child asks “Can we go to the cinema?” just saying no – is likely to get a repeat of the question or a sulk but saying “I’m glad you like going to the cinema, but I’m not sure if we can go today because …” demonstrates you have listened and valued their feelings.

Think about how you communicate

Sometimes when you want to have a quiet talk with your partner and it seems as though there’s always children around, parents often find themselves giving short sharp exchanges to each other. Also the language you use can create misunderstandings. For example if one parent says “I need to talk to you” the other may get worried – so always be sure to give a clue about what you need to talk about, and then agree when you can have that chat.

Use a code word

Try to find a code word that either of you (or the children) can say out loud when an argument is getting out of hand. This often diffuses the tension, and sends the message that whatever the argument is about, it will not be resolved in that moment. Each family could have a code word that is only known to them.

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