People living in a family setup are bound to get into conflicts every now and then. Conflicts between people arise because of antagonism of interests and opinions within the family and among the disagreeing family members. Unresolved disputes cause breakdown of relationships between the discontentment members thus the need to resolve a dispute expeditiously within the family is key to maintaining healthy relationships.
This case study involves a couple, Leonora and Joshua who are having disagreements about Leonora returning to work after taking care of Christa, their daughter who is three months old now. The couple is experiencing retaliations and rejection between them where Leonora expresses her frustrations at Joshua by shouting at him while Joshua is persistent with his point by and is annoyingly insistent.
The couple is taking the wrong approach towards finding the solution to this problem and an extension of the same tactics will most certainly see a major breakdown in their relations. The following guideline will prove helpful if applied to their situation.
- Express anger directly and with kindness.
While the couples in this relationship are actually expressing anger, they are not doing so in kindness. I would advice Leonora for instance to avoid shouting as this will negatively influence Joshua and may perceive her as stubborn and blatantly ignoring his views.
- Checking out the interpretations of each other
The couple does not take time to adequately understand the point the other is trying to make and therefore do not take time to know where they are coming from in holding the position they do. I would advice Leonora to stop responding to Joshua by way of shouting, and instead take the time to listen to Joshua and get the sense of what he is saying. I would require Joshua on the other hand; to take time and inquire the reason why Leonora is opposed to his position instead of insisting on his views. They should each inquire the reason the other holds their position and see if they can find common ground
- The use of ‘’I’’ statements to avoid attacks
Although the couples do not seem to be making any attacks on each other but are rather are embroiled in a deep disagreement, the use of pointing language such as ‘you should understand this.’ and ‘why don’t you consider.’ Only makes the disagreement deep rooted and personal than earlier. The use of considerate language such ‘I was suggesting’, ‘I thought you would like the idea..’ instigate discussion and more candid and unguarded responses from each party
- Avoidance of double messages
Joshua is the main culprit to this pitfall. He does not seem to know which position to take as he is strongly advocating that Leonora stays at home instead of going back to work, he does not seem to be comfortable with the possibility of a fall in their living standards. I would advice The sending of mixed messages may reinforce the resolve of Leonora of going back to work despite his will. He needs to pick a position and stick with it.
- Choose the Time and Place Carefully
Again, Joshua fails in an epic way at choosing time and place. His repetitiveness of the point he is trying to make comes out as obsessive and maniacal. This may come through to Leonora as imposing his views on her, which is not appealing. Calculated times for deliberation are ideal since the respondents have time to organize their thoughts calmly and coherently.
The issue to be addressed should be specific and no combined with other issues. The couple should work towards solving the return to work issue on its own without being concerned about living standards as that only makes the problem convoluted and difficult to figure out. Joshua for instance should be willing to compromise his stand on the issue of returning to work if he too, is uncomfortable with their economic prospects.
- Be Willing to Change Yourself
Both Joshua should be willing to give in on their positions and find some common ground. They can agree that they both take part-time jobs and look after the child in turns. This will make both parties fell involved and their concerns taken care of.
- Do not try to win
Both partners are evidently treating the discussion as a battle of wits between them that is harmful to the finding of a solution. Persistence and shouting only irritate the other partner and they try to irritate the other partner by doing something themselves. The ceding of ground for each other is the most amiable way of solving the stalemate. Joshua should try to calm down to avoid the retaliation of Leonora by shouting.
- Be willing to forgive the each other.
It is important in any confrontation that each party is willing to let go of the wrong doings they might have gone through by the hands of each other. Joshua and Leonora cannot find closure to the argument if the resentment they have of each other is not resolved. I would advise them to find a way of forgiving each other without holding back any grudges so they are able to solve present confrontations without influence by ancient grudges.
- End the argument
Seeking closure to an argument is the most effective and rarely used strategy of finding solutions. One party calls time on the hostility and either seeks a compromise, an agreement to disagree or even a submission. I would recommend to the couple to seek cease-fire to the argument. Ending of arguments avails time for parties to digest on their stands and most likely develop solution in that moment of peace.
Disagreements are easier resolved when the parties have clear vision of what they want to achieve and are ready to consider the opinions of all the parties in the argument. It is important to keep calm and articulate opinions in a clear and concise manner in order to make to avoid confusion. Solution are often achieved when parties keep their expectations and demands of others within reasonable levels and are able to compromise for the sake of each other.