Pick Your Battles and Fight Fairly

Conflict and disagreements are bound to happen in any relationship and within a family.  Being confided in your home, with the COVID-19 virus looming all around you, you may find that you have a whole new set of stressors. We would typically relish round-the-clock time with our loved ones but this is radically different.  It is unplanned, filled with uncertainty and fear about what lies outside our front doors.   How do you express yourself, voice your fears and still keep the peace without silencing your own voice? You need to pick your battles and fight fairly.  


Are you truly angry because someone used the last of the milk and at the sound of them eating their cereal? Or are you upset because you feel like you doing an uneven share of the housework, meal prepping, child care, etc., and this is just one more piece of that puzzle?  Take time to think about your own feelings before starting any arguments.


“You shouldn’t use the last of the milk” could quickly turn into “You don’t care about your family getting sick.”  Now you need to resolve two problems instead of just one.  When an argument starts to get off-topic, it can easily become about everything that person has ever done wrong.  


Discuss the actual issue, not the person.  Don’t put the other person down, don’t swear and don’t name call.  Degrading language is an attempt to express negative feelings while making sure the other person feels just as bad.  Don’t hit below the belt and go straight for areas that may be sensitive. Try to avoid words like “never” or “always” and generalize as these are often trigger words that will heighten tensions and puts the other person on guard.


This can be tough, but be careful not to interrupt.  Try setting a timer and allowing everyone one minute to speak without interruption.  When it is your turn to talk, be specific about what is bothering you. 
Take the time to just LISTEN! Remember, we have two ears and only one mouth, so listening just might be the more important skill.


Arguments are not won by being the one talking the loudest. The delivery of your communication can fail if it feels like it is being thrown at your partner.


If the argument becomes too heated or personal, take a time-out.  Agree to come back and discuss the problem after everyone has cooled down. The use of physical force or threats in any way is unacceptable and acting out in anger violates boundaries and their sense of safety. Each of us has a right to be safe and free of abuse, in any form (including emotional, physical, and verbal) in our relationships.


There isn’t always a perfect answer to an argument.  Life is just too messy right now for that.  Do your best to come to a compromise. Everyone has to have some give and take.  If you can’t come to a compromise, just understanding can help soothe feelings.

Remember, we are all facing a massive disruption to the daily rhythms of our lives.  The chances that everyone will be coping with the pandemic in the same way at the same time are quite slim.   Pick your battles and remember to always fight fair.

We are here to assist you

We are aware that everyone has been affected by the recent response to COVID-19 but we hope that you find some comfort in knowing that we are still operational and here to assist you.

Whether you are a current client or if you are looking for family law or estate planning assistance, our team is here for you and will continue to be available to address your concerns.

To the extent possible, we will offer remote consultations and provide services from a distance.

You may message us here, email our office at info@sterkfamilylaw.com, or call 815-600-8950 and one of our team members will be able to assist you.

This is a legal advertisement from Sterk Family Law Group. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be construed as such. This article is for informational and educational purposes only.


This is a legal advertisement from Sterk Family Law Group. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be construed as such. This article is for informational and educational purposes only.

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