Addressing the Family Problem
7:41:3 2024-05-17 238

1- Try to reach a compromise.  Compromising means that you come up with a solution that both people can feel okay about even if neither gets exactly what he or she wants. A compromise is a good way to defuse a dispute or to address a family problem.

  • The first step is trying to figure out whether the problem is solvable. That depends on the nature of the problem, and what’s already been done to solve it. If you’ve tried and tried and keep getting the same result, that may be different.
  • But consider what points of common ground you have with the other person, and what points you would be willing to give in on. If you don’t give in on anything, you’re less likely to make headway in the dispute.
  • One technique to develop compromise is for both people in the dispute to sit down and draw two circles that relate to the family problem. In the first circle, write down everything you’re not willing to compromise on. In the outer circle, write down the areas where you are willing to bend. Then, share the circles.


2- Talk to family members one-on-one. There are some families that don't function well as a group. We've all been in dysfunctional groups where there's a negative dynamic at play. Sometimes, this comes out when everyone's together.

  • Instead of broaching painful family problems at holiday gatherings or a big family dinner, try to figure out who the conflict is really between. If it's between you and one other family member, the rest of the family may feel very uncomfortable being dragged into it, because no one likes to be forced to take a side.
  • Instead, ask the family member in question to meet you for lunch or coffee. Talking one-on-one in a neutral space can be a much better way to redress whatever grievances you have or they might have. People will say things individually that they would hesitate to say in a group.
  • Don’t try talking to the family member when you’re distracted, working on a big work project, fielding a bunch of phone calls, doing the dishes, or the like. Instead, put everything down to focus on the issue and them.


3- Call a family council. Although a lot of disputes can be handled best one-on-one, there can be times where you would want to get the entire family together to address a problem. This approach is best if the problem affects the entire family, rather than stemming from an interpersonal conflict with a few family members.

  • For example, perhaps the family problem involves a job loss, disability, or money problems. Calling the family together to come up with ideas to solve the problem helps everyone feel like they are doing something useful.
  • Use the family council as the foundation to develop a strategy to move the family forward in a positive manner. More minds are usually better at tackling a problem than one is.
  • Make sure one family member doesn’t dominate the discussion, and explain that anger or name calling should be checked at the door.


4- Write a letter to the family member. Although electronic communication often seems too terse and impersonal, a heartfelt, handwritten letter can go a long way when addressing tough situations.

  • Handwriting is good because it's more personal. It shows that you put care and thought behind the letter, and it seems warmer. That will make the other family members realize that you are trying.
  • Some people communicate better in writing but veil their thoughts and emotions more in person or on the phone. If you are one of those people, a letter might be the way to go.
  • In the letter, you should explain how you feel and why you want to address the family issue. Use the word "I" more than the word "you" in the letter so you are stating your perspective and not blaming or speaking for anyone else. Explain how the problem is affecting you, but also explain how you would like the problem to be resolved and why.


5- Address a family problem with a child. Sometimes your children can be the source of family problems, whether it’s acting disrespectfully, arguing with siblings, or not doing their chores. You may want to deal with the issue a little differently if the child is very young.

  • Place the problem in front of the child. Explain the problem very clearly. You might say something like, "We have noticed that you don’t get out of bed easily, making you late for school a lot. This is a problem that we need to solve."
  • Don’t act angry. Instead, ask the child for help solving the problem. Suggest that the child come up with a plan to solve the issue with your help.
  • Give the child positive reinforcement if the child makes progress toward solving the problem. Try to dig out the real reasons for the problem. Is the child hard to wake up because the child is on social media too late, for example?
  • Don’t play favorites with children. Let the child know you love the child and that you want to solve the problem because you care about the child and want things to be better.


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