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Parental Conflict - Must the War Rage On?

Parental Conflict - Must the War Rage On?

By Jeffrey Zimmerman, Ph.D.
Beacon Behavioral Services


Parental Conflict is thought to be one of the most significant factors that predict children's adjustment in adulthood. Parents love their children, but continue to engage in conflict which hurts their children. They fight over items and decisions large and small. At times it seems winning is more important than solving the problem.

Parents can learn to change their interaction patterns. They can learn to battle less, in spite of being angry, hurt, distrustful and resentful. Conflict is about what behaviors each parent emits. It is not about what they feel.

The following tips can be helpful to parents to reduce and avoid unnecessary conflict:

Schedule communication times with your children's other parent. This allows each of you time to prepare for the interaction.

Keep the communication focused on resolving problems related to the children.

Avoid discussing old issues and feelings.

Interact in a respectful manner. Be courteous and polite.

Don't argue. If this begins, schedule another time to continue the discussion.

Be willing to give in on the little things. Many of them don't matter in the long run.

Remember you both love the children and want what is best for them.

All in all, the conflict can interfere with your children's ability to grow and thrive. It adds further aggravation to your day and makes joint decision making on behalf of the children difficult if not impossible. If conflict seems inevitable and intense consider getting professional help.