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De-escalate Your Disagreements

Sarah Chana Radcliffe, M. Ed., C. Psych.

The majority of family arguments are sparked by normal everyday incidents: a messy room, a large credit card bill, a chutzpahdig response from a child. How can you stop the fighting? With these foundational communication skills, you can turn those potentially caustic conversations into calm and effective discussions.

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Many people mistakenly believe that family conflict would cease if only their spouse or child or other provocative family member would be reasonable. “My teenager argues with me constantly!” a parent might say. Or, “My husband turns everything into a fight.” In other words, it’s always the other person’s fault. Not only does this theory render people helpless victims of their combative relatives, but it does them a great disservice as well. It stops them from exploring what they can do to put an end to the endless cycle of painful arguments. Although there are countless topics that could spark a fight, most people find themselves embroiled in quarrels for only two reasons: (1) they haven’t learned the communication strategies that can prevent them from falling into arguments in the first place, and/or (2) they haven’t learned or successfully employed the emotional regulation tools that would allow them to use the communication strategies. The good news is that any one person — i.e., you — can put a stop to arguments by addressing these two foundational causes. Let’s see how.

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