Few families are able to escape squabbles completely, whether between spouses, children or other relatives.
But a Danish study that looked at nearly 10,000 men and women, aged 36 to 52, warns that stressful social relations can be more than just unpleasant — they can increase your overall risk of early death.
How can you live in better harmony? Though your approach might differ depending on whether the argument is with your spouse or with an uncle you see just once a year, some steps are the same.
Write out what you think the squabble is about, along with your views on the subject, so that you can articulate them clearly. Add how you would like to see the issue resolved. Offer your family member this same opportunity. Agree that you will each take time to respectfully listen to the other with the goal of reaching a solution or a compromise.
Make sure you both interpret any solution the same way. To move forward, it’s important that you accept the outcome and not harbor any feelings of resentment. If conflicts over specific issues happen again and again, look for a deeper, underlying cause.
Remember that arguments within a family, especially between kids and parents, are normal — no fighting often means issues aren’t being addressed, not that they don’t exist. Also, airing differences of opinion and respecting every voice, youngsters’ included, helps kids with their interpersonal development.
Finally, keep in mind that not every situation merits an escalation into an argument. In other words, choose your battles wisely.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has more on healthy ways to have family arguments.
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