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How to Deal with Family Conflict

Family Conflict

By Agnes Amondi, YAZA Kenya

I’m asking this question as a result of the fallout between Prince Harry, his wife Meghan Markle and the Royal Family. So much has been said by Harry and Meghan about their life in the institution and people all over the world have taken strong positions to the point where I don’t think there’s anyone on the fence about it.

You either support the Royal Family or Harry and Meghan. As I write this, the Dutch of Sussex’s memoir Spare will officially come out on January 10 but is already the subject of a lot of heated debate. But this is not unique to them.

Every family is unique and has its set of challenges. Perhaps one sibling feels underappreciated or the father behaves in an annoying way. A parent is not present or doesn’t want to take up responsibility. I bet you know or have heard of such situations. Unfortunately, some of you might even come from such homes.

Some of these disagreements lead to irreparable differences hence a complete fallout. If not, should these families continue to share the same space, a lot of resentment brews between them and can turn toxic.

How should you handle family disagreements?



Walking Away

This is perhaps the last solution you have, usually after your efforts to solve everything leads to nothing. It is better and safer to walk away as opposed to staying and doing something regrettable.

Walking away can be tough because these are your next of kin and we do know that this part of the world is community-oriented hence many people will convince you to stay. If you choose to do that, you will no doubt be putting out fires and the tension and anger between you will still be there.

Walking away does not make you heartless. If it means that you live peacefully, then so be it. In the case of Harry and Meghan, they decided to walk out because they wanted different things out of life and from their statements, didn’t feel like help was forthcoming.




Keeping Things In The Family

This is what the Royal Family would have really loved for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to do. Just lie low and don’t blow up or cover. Let’s see what we can do internally and possibly, never go public.

Should you do this? Well, it depends. There are issues you can solve internally without seeking redress elsewhere. At least, I think most people do as they also want the discomfort of family conflict to go away. However, it’s not as easy as it sounds.

By the time someone goes public, it’s perhaps a sign that they can no longer tolerate what’s going on inside. We are community-oriented and most of the village elders will advocate that you forgive and move on. Anything other than that shall attract a curse.

If this works for your problem, then yes. Do this. If it doesn’t perhaps consider speaking out or at least finding another source.



Dialogue

This is so hard because we are always convinced that we are on the right and the other person is wrong. However, if you are going to solve a conflict, you need to listen to the side of the argument however irritating that is. What if you find out that you are in the wrong?

In the case of Harry and Meghan, they say that they raised the issues but no one was readily available for help. If we run with what they’ve said, then it simply means that the dialogue process didn’t even get started or they tried to get it started and then it didn’t go far.

This is the reason why the world’s press focused so much on whether the couple would talk to his brother and his wife or how they’d come across during Queen Elizabeth’s funeral.



Mediation

I can’t tell for sure whether Harry and Meghan got a mediator but they likely do not have one as they’ve been getting the message out by themselves. The Royal Family puts out well-thought-out messages but apart from that, we can’t tell what each individual is thinking about.

Most of us come from families where there are peacemakers. Usually, the older guys amongst us whose word is normally taken as law. Not all conflicts will need a mediator but if things are completely out of hand, then you definitely need one.



Silence

Is this even a method of dealing with conflict? Well, the Royal Family has maintained deafening silence since Harry and Meghan began speaking out and it doesn’t seem as though it will give out a word any time soon.

Most people will not count this as a good tactic as you will only be delaying the inevitable, most likely, when you have been pushed to the wall. It’s good to come to the table and iron out issues as best as you could and see where that ends.

Again, it depends on the person you are trying to reach out to. If they aren’t willing to or are dangerous, then save yourselves more anguish.


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dearJulius.com Canada: How to Deal with Family Conflict
How to Deal with Family Conflict
Including some of the things that Harry, Meghan and the Royal Family are doing.
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