Accusations fly. The past is thrown in your face. Yelling seems to be the only way to get a point across.
The end result of an argument is hot emotions, hurt feelings...and a lose/lose for all. Instead, you can make an argument a win/win by using fair fighting rules to help everyone calm down and effectively communicate.
Start by establishing a safe zone, taking time to think before addressing issues and if necessary use a timer to establish limits.
Here are a few other rules to remember:
- Something as simple as crossing your arms can come across defensively. Be aware of your stance to show your openness and willingness to talk.
- Name-calling is abusive, demeaning and may have long-lasting effects on self-esteem.
- Avoid unhelpful thinking patterns such as jumping to conclusions and use of critical words like "should" and "must."
- “I statements” will help to state your feelings and
- Instead of : "You always come home late and should just call to let me know you’ll be out longer!"
- Say : "I feel hurt and worried when I’m waiting up late and a phone call to update me will help me feel better."
Resolve issues in the here and now rather than bringing up the past. When previous indiscretions are brought up it takes everyone off topic and can make it challenging to forgive.
Don’t yell; instead keep a calm tone of voice to role model the way you want to be spoken to.
Take time to listen without preparing to answer. That way everyone will be able to get their points across and feel heard.