Communication Matters: Family Resilience

Mar 12, 2019

Past research has documented the conflict common to parents and children, siblings, and even stepfamilies. Thankfully, research has now also answered not only how to survive, but thrive as a family in the aftermath of conflict.

First, parents should teach children constructive conflict management by encouraging them to engage in perspective taking and empathy. Ask children, “how do you think that makes him or her feel,” when they encounter conflict.

Parents should also display an equal parenting approach via the treatment of all children to promote self-esteem, lessen perceived favoritism, and sustain stronger sibling relationships.

Step-family resilience is achieved through communicating rules and boundaries, spending time together as a family, promoting a strong image of a nonresidential parent, and also positively intervening when stepchildren are quarreling.