Have a Strategy for Handling Disagreements

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“Tact is the art of making a point without making an enemy. ” ~ Howard Newton

egadsOften disagreements with a partner, child or parent deteriorate into fights, with angry words spoken and damage to the relationship. This can be avoided if there is agreement in advance as to how differences will be handled.

Once you reach the place where it is clear there are opposing viewpoints there is no point in continuing to argue. Doing so creates a power struggle with both sides escalating in an effort to win. Rather, this is the time to define the problem and decide how it will be solved, or what kind of compromise is possible.

Sometimes the decision will be unilateral; a parent has the final say over issues such as curfew, taking the car etc. Other times, if it is not a critical issue, it could be decided by a coin toss, or taking turns; you pick the vacation spot this year, I’ll chose next year.

For really big or important issues, such as whether to have another child, move to another city, or major financial decisions, disagreements can threaten the relationship and create lifelong resentment, If peaceful resolution is not happening, then it is time to get professional help.

A trained therapist can assist in exploring the issues behind the big issue, and helping the parties come up with decisions they can live with. Often the relationship is strengthened in the process, because each party has a better understanding of the other.

Copyright © Gwen Randall-Young, All Rights Reserved. Contact us if you would like permission to reprint.
CDs You May be Interested In:
Conflict Resolution in Relationships
Communication in Relationships
Relationship Landmines
When Relationships Break Down
Relationship Healing