Family dynamics are different than other relationships. Because of that some of the most intense conflicts come between family members at home. They are the conflicts that bring us the most pain, make us suffer, and distress us. They can become so intense because the shared histories create different levels of familiarity and emotional friction.
At Monuments, we help our young men learn how to resolve, or at least better cope with, various types of family conflict.
Here’s one method, known as the Perspective Triangle Strategy. It employs three different perspectives to allow those involved to look at the conflict with some detachment. Here are the three steps.
Step #1: Your Own Perspective
This involves looking inside and increasing your level of self-awareness. You do this by asking yourself what’s really bothering you.
The goal in this step is to clarify to yourself what the conflict is really about. In most cases, people think a fight is about a specific issue, but reality is that it’s about something far deeper. Try and get to that. What pain are your trying to avoid? What are you protecting yourself from? Are you trying to feel secure? Are you trying to feel significant to the other? Are you trying to connect to the other?
Step #2: The Other Person’s Perspective
Here you have to have empathy; you need to put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Put your own judgment aside and see if you can see the conflict from the other person’s perspective.
What might be behind the position of the other person? What’s going on in his or her life that’s shaping his or her understanding? What needs is he or she satisfying with a particular behavior? Is the person looking for significance? Is the person looking for love or connection?
Go deeper and ask yourself how the other person is interpreting your own words and behavior?
Step #3: The Third Party’s Perspective
Often, it takes an outside perspective to really see a fresh perspective on the conflict. In this step, you put yourself in the position of a third part observing the conflict. Imagine that you’re watching the conflict in a movie. What’s it all about?
Seeing it as a spectator, what can you see about your own behavior and judgment? What advice would a third party give you to resolve the situation? What would that person tell you they thought the other person’s real intentions were?
At Monuments, helping our adolescent boys learn how to cope with and manage family conflict is one of the more common issues we face. That’s just because family interactions are so complicated psychologically.
If you think you have an adolescent boy who is having trouble with depression, addiction, or other issues, call us at Monuments, (800) 559-1980. We can help.