Arguments are inevitable in any relationship and the couples with children are no exception. Sometimes they are even worse. The extra work and fatigue following the birth of a child (and the ones to come) become the perfect context for conflicts. Even if you and your other half share the same opinion on many subjects, it is possible that you may have a different take on the way to raise kids or being a couple with children.
When conflicts occur, there are traps in which couples frequently fall. It amplifies the negative emotions that you are experiencing. If you know about the traps, you will be better at managing a fight. Of course, our little tips cannot take away the differences and frustrations in the blink of an eye but they can turn emotional conflicts involving tears, screams and angry words into constructive expression for a better understanding of the other. Now, let’s take a look at the traps…
Waiting too long or enduring an unacceptable and reoccurring situation will probably lead you to break down at an inappropriate moment. You partner will not understand why you are suddenly so mad about something so trivial. When you simmer frustration, it builds up, ready to explode at any moment. For example, if you cumulate anger because your husband makes a comment about your dinner being lukewarm every night, you will probably end up getting really mad. That’s the danger. Maybe you won’t explode the next time he talks about the meal, you may just as well blow when you have a different opinion about something in the newspaper. The very first moment when you will go through a frustration will be the last straw that breaks the camel’s back. You will confuse your husband who will wonder why you are so round up about an article. Nonetheless, it will not help him guess what your anger truly means because you haven’t discussed it at the right time.
Speaking at the wrong time
Sometimes, you must choose the right moment to get your message across in a couple. There are appropriate moments and there are bad moments. Avoid getting your point across in front of guests or when you are visiting someone. Avoid major tune-ups in front of children too (however, little arguments, if they are appropriate and reasonable, can teach a lot about conflict resolution). Also avoid doing so in a stressful moment (when you are late, before a job interview, before an important presentation at work, etc.). Finally, avoid getting your message across if you know that you don’t have enough time to discuss.
Digging old stories
If you are being reproached and you remind the other that he did something similar in the past in self-defence, know that you are starting a very sneaky fire. The past stories must remain in the past if their only purpose is to attack and humiliate the other. You couple will not progress towards conflict resolution. On the contrary, it will be more tempting to dig another story to accuse you too. Can you see what you would get yourself into?
Forget the accusations
“You always criticize me!” or “You always have to ruin everything!” are sentences that will inflame the situation. Accusing the other and constantly remind him of his wrongs have no incidence on what truly bothers you. Moreover, it doesn’t help your partner understanding what emotions he is triggering in the situations that you accuse him of. You leave him under the impression that he is responsible for a conflict in which he has no chance to express himself calmly. Whenever someone is under attack, he will strike back or run away. Is that what you want?
Screaming, hitting, insulting, scratching…
Such behaviours should be avoided. Emotional rants sometimes bring regrets or leave permanent marks (on the heart, the body or the furniture). Insults and screams don’t solve anything. The same goes for physical and psychological abuse. This climate doesn’t lead to listening and understanding. You will rather be caught in a fight with no winner.