The most frequent family conflicts and how to resolve them

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Louise Hay

The most frequent family conflicts and how to resolve them

A large part of family conflicts, and human conflicts in general, derive from the lack of capacity for dialogue.

Last update: April 12, 2022

The most frequent family conflicts concern situations or dynamics of change that are not accepted. Likewise, they deal with negative habits that take root and become role models that hinder dialogue and interpersonal relationships.

Beyond the reasons why the most frequent family conflicts arise, it is good not to lose sight of the fact that these too constitute an opportunity for growth. The family is the basic social unit and the resulting learning has an incalculable value for other dimensions of life.

"The bond that unites us to the true family is not that of blood, but that of the respect and joy we feel for their life and they for ours".

-Riccardo Bach-

Quarrels, disagreements and misunderstandings are perfectly normal. Every relationship is characterized by it and the family is no exception.

However, it is important to develop and implement strategies for managing problems and taking advantage from these experiences. In the following lines, some of the most frequent family conflicts are listed, as well as some tips for resolving them.

The most frequent family conflicts

1. Generational contrasts

There are ages and times in life when you are more likely to have conflicting relationships. Among these is adolescence, a phase in which changes occur at an overwhelming speed. During these years, the conflict goes hand in hand with the affirmation.

Something similar happens in the transition phase from middle age to old age. It is a transition that is not always easy and one that involves many changes in a person's life. Sometimes we react with irascibility and unconventionality.

Either way, the family must offer understanding. Neither teens nor seniors will be right in many cases, but they need to be judged or required to have a balance they cannot achieve, at least momentarily.

2. Losses

Losses are one of the most common reasons for family conflict. The death of a family member or loved one has a major impact on relatives. It is normal for this to generate anger and frustration.

Losing something significant, such as an important job, activity, opportunity, etc., also has effects. We cannot overcome what happened automatically, but we have need time to process what happened.

3. Unresolved past problems

Unresolved family problems are not simply left behind. In most cases they turn into latent tension or resentment, which end up emerging in one way or another: hostility, moodiness, distrust, etc.

While it's sometimes impossible to find a solution to a problem, it's not a good idea to bury the dust under the carpet. The ideal is to reflect on what happened and find the right moment to talk about it and clarify things.

4. Indefinite roles among the causes of the most frequent family conflicts

Family conflicts often occur because there is no clear distinction as to the role each should play within the social group. It happens when parents end up asking their children for advice or minors give orders, responsibilities are redistributed inappropriately, etc.

As a social structure which it is, the ideal is that a family has well-defined roles, especially authoritative ones. Otherwise, it most likely results in a certain anarchy that causes misunderstanding, injustice or confusion.

5. The disease

A family member's illness can trigger a variety of conflicts. This is especially the case when it comes to a chronic or terminal illness implies the need for assistance.

These situations require an open and honest dialogue. It is important to distribute tasks and assign responsibilities in the fairest possible way. This will offer quality care to the sick person and no one will be overwhelmed.

6. Favoritism

Favoritism generates family conflicts because in many cases they are the basis of an unjust and discriminatory structure. A house is such because each member has an indisputable place in the human group.

It is true that there will never be total equity, but there must be a firm will to be fair to everyone. Some family members will be bright and successful, others not so much.

However, the foundation of family ties is unconditional love. This should never be questioned.

7. Aggression and disrespect among the most frequent family conflicts

Aggression is not only one of the most frequent causes of family conflicts, but of conflicts in general. Abuse is unacceptable, at least in the life of a person interested in preserving their mental health.

A few moments of aggression are perfectly normal. The problem arises when it becomes a pattern and frequent. The result is often a chain of wounds that sometimes never heal.

In order for a family, and any human group, to be constructive for the people who are part of it, the boundary of disrespect must never be crossed.

Otherwise, the bonds deteriorate significantly and there is considerable emotional effects. A relationship is unlikely to be the same again after a disrespectful act.


The most frequent family conflicts, but also the less frequent ones, they can be solved by increasing the capacity for dialogue.

This includes active listening, assertiveness and affection. Solving family problems enriches your life and prepares you for better relationships with the whole of society.

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