Conflict.  Family life is filled with it.  Each family member’s reactions to conflict are varied.  Some charge at it with all the fierceness of a lion while others avoid it at all cost, and others still use indirect clues and hints to “gently” guide the conflict in the way they want it to go.  Somehow families and individuals that make up those families have gotten the idea that:

  Conflict = Fight     or     Conflict = Hurt

However, conflict is a NECESSARY part of family life.  It is unrealistic to believe that two or more unique individuals can live together without conflict—we all have different likes and dislikes, fears, and perspectives.  Working through and valuing these differences is what healthy conflict can be.  I’ll let you in on a big secret… conflict as actually  opportunity for understanding and growth in disguise.

With this new perspective, new equations for families can become:

Conflict= Understanding

or

Conflict= Greater Connectedness

Interestingly enough, this has played out in my home just this week and I was reminded of the fact that handling conflict in a healthy way takes time and intentionality.  It is crucial that we, as parents, be willing to model this kind of conflict (that seeks understanding) and we must ensure that we have the “bandwidth” to handle the challenges of conflict when they come.  Our stress management and spiritual walk are primary in making sure we have the emotional, physical, spiritual and relational provisions we need to carry this out.

Guiding Scriptures

Ephesians 4:15

Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up

into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.

Proverbs 16:21 NLT

The wise are known for their understanding,

and instruction is appreciated if it’s well presented.