Who has a fight-free family? Whenever I ask this question of my audience everybody looks round the room: all hoping that someone else will admit that most mornings, by the end of breakfast time, their family has fought a minumum of one major battle already. There’s big smiles of relief when I tell them the reality about families – all families fight!
In my book, Fight-Free Families I list fifteen known reasons for fights that commonly occur in the family setting. For instance, family members fight to say their rights, for attention, to defend themselves or their property, to protect their self-esteem, for status or for power.
Family fights give us experiences which we are able to take out into the real world. We learn that sometimes fighting with regard to the principle is essential, and sometimes we are wasting our time.
feud questions is where people learn that fighting can be physical, emotional, and political and they can result in hurts for everybody -hurt bodies, hurt feelings and insufficient trust.
Generally in most functional (mostly) families, the hurts are resolved. Parents set values about cooperation and forgiveness and the significance of “blood” in “being there” for every other. Competitive siblings mature and undertake their individual identities and let go of their need to compete.
Sometimes, however, in the dysfunctional family context, hurts are toxic and are never resolved.
It all starts with the parents, who’ve the responsibility of teaching the difference between being “right” and being “happy”. Children need to learn that it is impossible for the household puppy to “be cut in two” for it to be shared. They have to take turns. Children have to learn that life is not fair. Life is not about equal shares -it’s in regards to a dance of justice and reality. For example, older children may perceive which have very restricted privileges or more responsibility compared with the freedom younger child may get. However teenagers often receive more status and property than youngsters.
Parents who take on a “Joan of Arc” righteousness to insist on their principles, risk the backlash of family feuds where one party sets up against the other to prove another right or wrong.
Parents also need to teach the significance of compassion and forgiveness. This is very important for the kid who may have become the ‘irresponsible one” of the family (and most families have one of these brilliant, whose very birth order could have greatly contributed to their position as scapegoat). Consider of the Prodigal Son! Certainly, the responsible child should not be disadvantaged, neither should the irresponsible child be rescued from the results of their behaviour. However there is always a method to preserve people boundaries and preserve blood ties when there is a good intention.
The parents have to lead the family towards reconciliation and the kids need to be ready to be lead. If there is “too much water beneath the bridge” – an excessive amount of proving right and wrong for too much time – the very reality of the initial reason behind the fight is probably forgotten anyway. The family loses the very structure of its substance. And no-one wins.