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Preserving the Family When Conflict Comes Knocking on Your Door

Preserving the Family When Conflict Comes Knocking

on Your Door


Those with a family to call their own know that occasional arguments and disagreements can be a common part of life. Conflict, after all, can be an everyday occurrence within families. In many cases, these petty disagreements are resolved as quickly as they arise.

The truth is, the family unit can be under attack when family members have conflicting views or beliefs. There are conflicts that may continue to become damaging, stressful, hurtful, and aggressive. While communicating in a positive manner can reduce conflict, the presence of strong emotions or power imbalances can sometimes result in difficulty in reaching a peaceful resolution. Sometimes, conflict can result from misunderstandings and unresolved issues, causing arguments and resentment, not to mention emotional, and behavioral health problems.

As the basic social unit around which much of society revolves, it is critical to preserve the family when conflict comes knocking and threatens its stability. Due to the uncertainties, difficulties and challenges faced by families, preserving its unity may not come naturally, nor it may not happen quickly or easily. Seeking family counseling to reestablish family relationships after a storm may be a creative, proactive and consistent strategy when it comes to preserving the family unit.


Common Causes of Family Tension

Perhaps more than other relationships, family harmony may provide its members a sense of belonging and a feeling of security, which are threatened when conflict arises. In today’s turbulent society, families are being torn apart by a myriad of factors. Whether the disharmony initiates from within or outside the home, each member and the family as a whole may experience a wide range of negative emotions and consequences. The following common causes of family conflict may trigger discord between couples, children, in-laws and relatives.


  • Finances and Jobs: The area of finances, specifically the lack of money, is one of the major sources of family conflict. When the family experiences hardship due to unemployment, foreclosure or lifestyle change, members may find it difficult to survive and live harmoniously as finances dwindle and uncertainties about the future set in. It may impel parents or adult children to venture away from home and endure the challenges of being separated, while those who stayed often feel anxious, neglected or overwhelmed.


  • Sibling Rivalry: While rivalry can be a regular occurrence in families or blended families with more than one child, there can be the risk that sibling competition may intensify into outright conflict in the household. Whether it is an attempt to gain more attention or approval from their parents, sibling rivalry can become long-standing and can rear its ugly head during family activities or events.


  • Parenting Style: The lack of mutual agreement on the subject of child rearing and discipline may potentially become an area for family conflict. Parenting styles are largely dependent on the experiences of parents while being raised. As the differences in parenting style wildly vary, it may cause frustration and conflict between spouses, while the children get confused about whom to turn to during crucial times.


  • In-Laws and Extended Family: The proliferation of movies and jokes about in-laws make it appear as a light subject matter. It is not, however, a laughing matter when disagreements or misunderstanding occur between family members and in-laws or extended family. While it calls respect for elders on both sides, it can prove challenging if relatives routinely interfere with decision-making and the lifestyle of the family. Conflict becomes an inevitable consequence.


  • Death in the Family: Losing a beloved family member is one of the most traumatic events the unit may experience. Although sharing the same grief, individual members grieve differently, while the whole household suffers. Parents losing a child or children may become over protective of the surviving siblings. On the other hand, the death of a parent may cause children to argue among themselves and eventually cause division in the family.


Hallmark Characteristics of a Family in Conflict

Far from the idyllic families often portrayed in movies years ago, families where conflict resides have recognizable signs of relationship breakdown, including: 


  • Poor Communication: If family members have difficulty communicating their requests to each other, misunderstandings often result. Communication is strained, ineffective, or entirely nonexistent.


  • Lack of Diversity: When family members do not share the same interests and beliefs, chances are there is no one in authority, such as their parents. A lack of diversity in the family can result in conflicting ideals or aspirations adopted from authoritative figures who are usually the parents.


  • Unpredictability and Fear: Fear is often caused by the unpredictability of a single or multiple family members. Unpredictability may be with regard to financial matters, emotional state, or reactions to new situations, which can cause unexpected actions from the concerned member.


  • Control: When one member dominates some or the entire family, it can result in emotional “stunting” wherein other members may feel they are not entitled to an opinion or to live life according to their choices.


  • Abuse: Whether physical or emotional, any form of abuse committed in the family punishes and diminishes single or multiple members. Abuse may occur between spouses, from a parent to a child, or between siblings.


  • Perfectionism: The desire to have a perfect family is a reflection of unrealistic expectations in which the family is inadequate. It can result in low self-esteem in members, and may become self-perpetuating.


The Family Way to End Conflict

A family undergoing conflict is faced with adverse challenges that can affect each member emotionally and behaviorally. Emotions can run the gamut from depression, resentment to domestic violence and substance abuse. When tension and emotions become too volatile, it may be beneficial to seek counseling now to regain perspective through family conflict resolution. Unresolved conflict may irreparably damage family relationships if no help is sought.

Many times, the family or its members cannot resolve the issues alone. Addressing the conflict can be challenging, especially considering the clashing personalities of family members. There is the need to take an early stance against the adverse effects of conflict to help find resolution and bring reconciliation to the home front. Professional intervention to preserve your unit may be warranted.

There is no need to wait until the conflict begins to dominate your lives and affect everyone in the family. Regardless of the underlying causes of conflict in your family, it is comforting to know help is offered by a caring and trained counselor independently contracted with Carolina Counseling Services – Sanford, NC for households in crisis. While it may not be possible to completely remove all the conflicts, working with the right fit family counselor independently contracted with CCS – Sanford, NC can help your family learn how to resolve conflict in a healthy manner. Call now to request an appointment!

Serving Areas: Carolina Counseling Services – Sanford, NC

Counties: Chatham, Harnett, Lee and Moore County, NC

Areas: Sanford NC, Tramway NC, Olivia NC, Broadway NC, Cumnock NC, Gulf NC, Goldston NC, Carbonton NC, Glendon NC, Carthage NC, Cameron NC, Lillington NC, Moncure NC

Zip Codes: 27330, 27332, 28327, 27505, 27546

Rose Thomas, MA, LPC, LCAS, NCC

Specializes in: (Ages 5+) Children, Teens, Individuals, Couples and Families. Anxiety, Depression, ODD (Oppositional Defiance Disorder, ADHD, Relationship Issues, Marriage Counseling, Parenting, PTSD/Trauma Recovery, Acute Stress Disorder, Adult Sexual Abuse Survivors, Adjustment Disorders, Depressive Disorders, Persistent Depressive Disorder, Bipolar and Related Disorders, Self-injurious/Self-Harm, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, Agoraphobia, Separation Anxiety, Disruptive Disorders, Conduct Disorder, Marital Conflict and Discord, LGBT, Substance Use Disorders
 Insurance: BCBS, Tricare,/Tricare Prime, Select, Extra, Retired, Cash, HSA and FSA accepted (credit cards accepted)
 Credit Cards: Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express

Fetima Wellington, MS, LPC, LCAS-A

Specializes in: (Ages 6+) Children, Adolescents/Teens, Individuals, Couples, Family Therapy and Marriage Counseling. Anxiety, Depression, Bi-Polar Disorder, Addiction and Recovery, Relationship Issues, Post Partum Depression, Family Conflict, Crisis Intervention, ODD, Conduct Disorder, LGBTQ
 Insurance: BCBS,  Cash, HSA and FSA (credit cards accepted)
 Credit Cards: Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express

How Do I Set Up my FIRST Appointment?

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Carolina Counseling Services - Sanford, NC
304 N Horner Boulevard
Sanford, NC 27330