Conflicts In Families: Common Causes And Best Solutions

Family relationships generally involve some family conflict at some stage. So what are the leading causes of conflicts in families, and how can we communicate effectively to resolve it?

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Introduction to Conflicts in Families

Interpersonal conflict in families is common, and it can be very stressful. Conflicts could be minor bickering at each other, yelling matches, or even abuse. All types of conflict can destroy one’s mood and create a tense atmosphere within the home when not immediately settled. If possible, this is something that families want to avoid, but are fights and heavy encounters within the family preventable? Is there a way to lessen the conflict or resolve it and live peacefully within the home if it is already there?

Conflicts in families can involve parents and children, adult children, elderly parents, siblings, grandparents, and other family members. It can involve a lot of hurt feelings, anger, and resentment. It’s best resolved early with the other party to put the interpersonal conflict behind you.

What is the main cause of family conflict?

Conflict can occur when family members have different or clashing views and opinions. This is the leading cause of why families have issues with each other. People with varying beliefs tend to push their outlook as “the right one” rather than being open to opposing views. If there is no resolution and everyone is too proud to step back from the conflict, resentment and argument will follow. Divorce and bitter separations can also often cause conflicts when children are involved. There are many benefits to ensuring happy children and shared parenting.

Conflicts In Families
Nobody likes conflict, but sweeping issues under the rug ultimately causes more damage than addressing things directly” – Sharon M. Rinkin, M.A., M.F.T.

What are other common causes of family problems?

Lack of or poor communication can be one of the leading causes of family conflict. Sarcastic remarks spouted, criticisms said back and forth, blaming one another for petty issues, and unending complaints can make the home tense. Each person feels like they are unheard and not respected within the relationship. If the conflict isn’t solved, the resentment can build up into something that cannot be fixed. Words said in anger can be hurtful, and an apology can’t take back the hurt caused.

Stages in family life and changes in family situations can also be a cause of family problems, according to the BetterHealth website in Victoria, Australia. The website mentions this fact in their article titled “Family Conflict.” Family stages like adjusting to married life, the birth of a couple’s child, a kid going to school for the first time, and children transitioning through teen and adulthood may create family tensions. Changes in family situations such as a marriage broken, moving houses, working long-distance and away from family, and financial issues are also causes of conflict.

“Any problem, big or small, within a family, always seems to start with bad communication. Someone isn’t listening.”

emma thompson

Issues between spouses or parents can ignite conflicts in families. It includes lack of communication between husband and wife or parents, continuous absence of a spouse, insecure feelings or jealousy, lack of intimacy in the marriage, family or friends interfering with the couple’s issues, division of chores at home, and most of all, infidelity. These problems are not minuscule and must be dealt with immediately to foster a harmonious marriage or family environment.

Conflicts In Families
You may think you are hiding the conflict, but children almost always know.

Parents, parental conflict with their children and siblings will have arguments and issues. The Family Court of Australia website published its research on the matter. It is “normal” to have family problems. Most argue over money – who takes the inheritance, pays for a parent’s medication or operation, or has debt between family members. Financial conflicts in families may be challenging to resolve and bring about painful or deep emotions. It must be contained before it gets into a more significant issue.

Family dynamics can also create problems. Conflict with in-laws is common, as well. For example, a mother-in-law has a spat with her daughter-in-law, creating a wedge with the son/husband. Even family occasions can be a problem or caring for elderly parents by a child. Everybody is busy with their own lives and they don’t always have time or the money to take care of an elderly parent. Blended families are also a reason for conflict sometimes.

Family is the basic unit of society, and if the primary unit is shaky, what becomes of the society? People can develop mental health disorders attributable to family conflict. One’s family is supposed to provide love, care, and support. Issues, quarrels, disputes, and arguments must be nipped before it grows out of proportion.

Conflicts In Families
Arguments need to be sorted out quickly before they get out of hand.

Best Solutions: How are family conflicts resolved?

It would be hard to believe that anyone would want to fight with others, especially within their own families. It can have devastating effects. Nobody wants to have a problem with their parents, siblings, or spouses. It can destroy a possibly great relationship if conflicts in families are not prevented or resolved. There are solutions to problems, and it involves open and honest communication. Conflict resolution can end the fighting before it becomes significant. 

Some conflicts are a lot harder to mediate, and at times, it may be good to seek out a family counselor to help work through some of the problems. Allowing each person to have their say in a safe space and not have finger-pointing or blame thrown around. Have empathy for others in the conflict and let them know that you want to work on a solution together. Parenting classes may also be helpful if the parents struggle to understand their children and want the best environment possible for them.

Conflicts In Families
Open and honest communication is an effective solution.

What are five conflict resolution strategies?

  • When a conflict starts to arise, think first before you speak.
  • No blaming. Instead of shaming each other over an issue, change the dynamics and talk about how “you both” or “ how all of you” can help resolve the matter immediately.
  • Listen to your loved one, and try to put yourself in their shoes before arguing your point further. It can save a tonne of heartache and misery.
  • Always aim to make your relationship work. One must also always think of maintaining a great relationship with their parent, sibling, or spouse. By conditioning one’s mind, you will respect your loved one and try to understand their point of view. You can learn a thing or two about your varying ideas. After that, you must both agree to solve the situation. It may not always be easy.
  • Open and honest communication is an effective solution. Let it all out, and have a dialogue with your loved one respectfully. No guilt-tripping when you talk, as this can create conflicts in families. Focus on resolving the problem together instead of using the problem to divide you and your spouse, parent, sibling, or wider family.
Conflicts In Families
Happy Children usually grow into happy adults. Children always remember the fighting.

Summary – Conflicts in Families

All families have arguments, opposing opinions, and conflict. The quickest and easiest way to help solve conflict is to have open and honest communication as soon as possible. Allowing others to interfere in your conflict usually doesn’t help. Try to reduce the time you spend angry, hurt, or frustrated with others, as it will make you and your family happier. Counseling can be an option for long, ongoing issues to help have another person mediate what is going on.


G’day! I’m Ken, and this blog documents my journey to becoming an awesome Dad! I would love for you to join along on my journey as I discover and learn how to become the best Dad I can possibly be, and manage this goal with my challenging work commitments!

Kenny has 53 posts and counting. See all posts by Kenny

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