Everyone is affected by family conflict. If there is an ongoing conflict between family members, you may want to mediate in order to make everyone’s lives easier. It’s worthwhile to make an effort to smooth things over. Encourage everyone to approach the situation with compassion. When talking about something, make sure that everyone’s voice is heard. Allow everyone to express themselves. Make an effort to move forward in a spirit of forgiveness. As a result, you will have a more stable family situation in the future.
Part 1 Encouraging the Right Mentality
1. Consider everyone’s point of view. Before attempting to mediate a disagreement, consider all sides of the argument. While you should avoid taking sides when attempting to mediate, you also don’t want anyone to think you’re dismissing their point of view. Take some time to consider why everyone in the situation feels wronged or hurt.
You must resist the urge to pass judgement here. Looking at family situations objectively can be difficult, especially if you are emotionally involved in the conflict. Consider how you would react if you were an outsider hearing about the conflict.
Investigate why both parties believe they have been wronged and hurt. Consider your family’s history and how it may or may not play a role in the drama. Examine yourself as well. Is there anything you did or said that could have escalated the situation? How do you think other members of your family felt about some of your actions? Try admitting this aloud, such as “I shouldn’t have raised my voice.” I’m sure hearing that was upsetting for you.” Recognizing this out loud and leading by example can set the tone for others to follow! You want to act admirably and inspire others to do the same.
2. Consider how the conflict is affecting other family members. It can be difficult to mediate drama. However, despite the stress, it is critical to have the strength and resolve to work towards a solution. One way to stay strong is to remind yourself of who is being hurt. A conflict between two family members frequently affects everyone in the family.
Consider who is caught in the middle. For example, if your two uncles are fighting, their children may be caught in the crossfire. While all of the cousins enjoy getting together on occasion, it has become awkward due to the schism between their fathers.
You can use the fact that other family members are affected to encourage resolution. If the two opposing sides refuse to meet, remind them how their drama affects those around them. This could be the catalyst they need to mend fences.
3. Inquire about how other family members are feeling. As a mediator, you want to have as complete a picture of the situation as possible. Asking questions is the best way to understand someone’s point of view. Ask a variety of family members how they feel about the situation before gathering everyone for a discussion.
You don’t want to slander anyone. Encourage everyone, however, to explain why they are feeling the way they are. Make use of active listening techniques to show them that they have been heard and understood.
As an example, “Uncle Dave, you appear to be nervous about seeing Uncle Clark for Thanksgiving. Is something going on over there?”
4. Look for the source of the problem. An argument, especially in families, is rarely about the surface level issue. If a family member reacts negatively to something seemingly insignificant, chances are there’s an old feud or resentment at work. Reflecting on your family’s history can assist you in tracing the origins of feuds and dealing with the situation more effectively.
For example, if your uncles are fighting because one of them made a passing remark about the other’s job, there is probably something else going on. Growing up, one uncle may have always outshined the other. Perhaps they’ve always been fiercely competitive with one another.
When it comes to humour, the issue here isn’t just one of personal tact. The problem is one of insecurity. Knowing this will help you address everyone’s emotions when mediating the situation.
Part 2 Having a Healthy Discussion
1. Set the discussion’s ground rules. When you gather your family to talk, you must establish some ground rules. Make sure to encourage all parties to participate in the rule-making process. That way, you won’t come across as lecturing or condescending. This will also help to ensure that the conversation runs smoothly and that everyone has an opportunity to express themselves.
A good general rule to follow is that only one person can speak at a time. You can prevent others from interrupting you. You can begin by saying something like, “Even if you disagree with what someone is saying, it is critical that you allow them to speak for the sake of this mediation. When they’re finished, you can respond.”
You can also have general rules for dealing with emotions. Make it clear to everyone that, no matter how enraged they become, no one should raise their voice or use foul language.
2. Encourage everyone to keep their emotions under control. When discussing family conflict, it is not uncommon for tensions to rise. People may become emotional and enraged at times. Try to keep your emotional outbursts to a minimum. While everyone has the right to their personal feelings, make it clear that these feelings must be expressed in a productive and appropriate manner.
Inform someone if they are out of control. As an example, say, “”Uncle Clark, you’re starting to raise your voice,” or “Uncle Dave, you shouldn’t say such things.” It’s counterproductive.”
When they raise their voice, don’t try to shout over them. Maintain a gentle tone and a soft voice. When they begin to stray, use brief prompts such as “let’s keep it down” to keep them on track. You can also ask if they want to take a breather or compose themselves.
3. The thoughts of others During a mediation, it is critical that everyone feels truly heard. After someone has finished speaking, briefly paraphrase their words. Allow them to clarify if you’ve misunderstood something. During a mediation, everyone will feel heard in this manner.
As an example, “Uncle Dave, I’m hearing you think Clark was dismissive of your job. You put in a lot of effort for the promotion, and while you don’t mind joking around, you felt Clark should have congratulated you first.”
4. Ensure that everyone has an opportunity to express themselves. Do not end the conversation until everyone has had an opportunity to speak. Go around the room and allow everyone a chance to speak. Then go around the room again, this time allowing everyone to respond. Say something like, before you end the conversation “Is that all of it? Anyone else have anything they’d like to share?” You should never end a negotiation before all parties have had an opportunity to express their feelings and frustrations about the situation.
Part 3 Finding a Way to Move Forward
1. Work on mending the broken relationships. The outcome of a mediation is rarely straightforward. You may not have a detailed game plan. Everyone should, however, leave with some idea of how to mend broken relationships.
It is not your responsibility to provide specific recommendations. You can, however, make suggestions for how family members should treat one another in the future. Consider what was said during the mediation. Look for areas that require improvement.
Remember to solicit feedback from others. Inquire specifically what they are willing to do to assist in improving the situation. If appropriate, begin with your own areas for improvement.
Make a suggestion for something that should be different in the future. “Because a person’s career is so important to their sense of self,” for example, “perhaps we should all be more sensitive when joking about someone’s job.”
You should also agree to actively work on resolving the feud. As an example, “Let’s agree not to bring it up again for the next few months. We don’t have to discuss it over Thanksgiving. This, I believe, will allow everyone to let some of this go and move forward.”
2. Make an effort to forgive. You can begin by forgiving the family members in question. Even if you were not directly involved in the feud, you were most likely affected in some way by the drama. Make the decision to forgive. Remember that you have no control over the actions of others, but you do have control over your own reaction.
You can also encourage other members of your family to forgive. However, keep in mind that you cannot make someone feel a certain way.
3. Keep your expectations in check. If a family argument or conflict has been going on for a while, it will not be resolved overnight. Expect things to continue to be tense in the future. If the family members in question are difficult and melodramatic by nature, they may be unwilling to mend fences completely. Accept that despite your best efforts, there may still be tension at the next holiday or get-together.
Remember that it may take several conversations before a situation improves. Allow everyone involved a break, but don’t be afraid to revisit the issue later to see where there is progress. Express your delight and encourage everyone to keep trying.
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