Why Can We Just Get Along?

Every family can experience challenges when it comes to living in harmony. No two people think exactly alike or react the same, so some conflict is almost inevitable.

Understanding how every member of the relationship thinks and their basic personality can help keep the waters running smoother. For instance, if you have a strong-willed child, you can give that child age-appropriate things to do where that child is in charge, such as: helping collect dirty laundry, setting the table, putting toys away, writing the shopping list while you inventory the pantry or walking or feeding the dog. I will admit, that the younger the child, the easier it is to get enthusiastic help, but if you build a pattern of responsibility, it does get easier.

One of the things I enjoy doing is explaining personality styles to parents or couples. Once they understand what makes a person tick and how to talk to one another, conflict can become less frequent if both are willing to make a compromise. If she can balance a checkbook and stick to a budget, it is often more advantageous to let her track finances and get the bills paid. If he is an idealist, her more laid back style could bug him until he sees that she can balance his need for perfection in some areas. Someone who loves to have fun and make a game of things can sometimes gain cooperation for tasks because he can find ways to make it enjoyable.

One key to this balancing act is appreciating the differences in one another. If he sees that her attention to detail can help him gain points with his boss when he runs proposals by her first, he view her need for order as less burdensome. If she sees his take-charge attitude as his need to provide for his family, she may be more inclined to compromise and follow his lead, as long as he listens to her concerns. She can praise his drive to succeed at work and help him stay aware of family matters that also need his attention so he keeps a better work/home balance. They form a partnership where they take advantage of each other’s strengths and balance weaknesses.

When parents can do this, they can teach their children to do the same as they lead by example and praise each child individually for that child’s achievements. When the children don’t have to compete for praise and attention and routinely hear sincerely compliments that value each family member, they are more likely to praise and affirm their siblings.

It takes time and effort to do this, but it is well worth the time spent and can help minimize the unpleasantness that comes with feeling unappreciated. Give it a try!!