Relationships with our parents and siblings can be some of the strongest and most positive connections in our lives but they can also be the most difficult at times!
Having a difference of opinion to your family members is a normal and healthy part of life but when disagreements turn into angry arguments, this can have a negative impact on our mental and emotional well-being.
Learning how to manage and resolve conflict between family members can help improve your communication skills, create emotional resilience and build better bonds between you and your parents and siblings.
Family fights do happen from time to time so here are some top tips for re-connecting with your family after having a fight:
1. Take time-out to calm down
When we are angry at each other it can be difficult to communicate so it can help to take some time out to calm down. Waiting until things have settled shows your family that you can act responsibly to build trust and respect and may encourage everyone to manage future conflict in a more respectful way.
2. Reflect on your feelings after the fight
Your main emotion could be anger or frustration but underneath you might be feeling hurt, disappointed or misunderstood. It’s important to think about and name your feelings (even to yourself!) – this can be done through journaling and taking time to identify your emotions.
3. Seek support
It can be helpful to speak with a trusted adult or a friend who can help you to cope and manage your emotions after a family fight. Reach out to those who will listen, support and encourage you and who can offer you a fresh perspective on the relationship between you and your family members.
4. Think about how what led up to the fight
Sometimes a parent or sibling may get angry at you for something that you can’t control. It is important to remember that this isn’t your fault and you have the right to respectfully let the person know this. At other times, you may become angry and start a fight when you aren’t allowed to do something that you want to do or because of a difference in opinion. Think about the cause of the fight and what could be changed to resolve future conflict.
5. Develop your communication skills
Try to be assertive in explaining your point of view while also listening to the other person’s thoughts and feelings. Allow your parent or sibling to speak without interrupting and ask for the same respect to be given to you when you want to speak. If this is difficult to manage, consider asking for another family member or trusted person who is not involved in the fight to support you in communicating effectively.
Sometimes saying sorry is difficult and the last thing that we want to do when we’re hurt or angry. However, apologising for something that we have done wrong is one of the best ways to reconnect with a parent or sibling and can help build trust and respect between you.
Accepting an apology from a parent or sibling and trying to move on from a fight can also be tough but is an important part of reconnecting and repairing your family relationship.
Remember: Having differences of opinion and arguments are part of family life but there’s a difference between feeling angry and acting aggressively.
If a parent is threatening or abusive, this is always wrong and you have the right to get support. It’s never okay to be physically, verbally or emotionally abusive and if this is happening within your family you can contact Childline Listening at any time for emotional support or phone 999 in the case of an emergency.
If you’ve had a fight with your parents or siblings and would like to talk it through there is always support available to you. Childline is always here to listen.