Conflict Resolution

Lesson 21 : Trends In Communication And Barrier

Conflict Resolution

Conflict is a struggle with values, with power, or with resource allocation. The emphasis here is placed on interpersonal conflict in the means or ends of family life. People can walk away from disagreements in insignificant relationships, but if the relationship is an important one, people attempt to make their opinions known and to continue the relationship. If disagreements cannot be successfully resolved, tensions may be expressed in alternate ways such as sulking, nagging, or belittling others in the family.

Successful conflict resolution is based on established and effective pattern of communication with better self discloser. If the relationship in the family is important, then family members attempt to communicate properly and avoid conflicts.

The presence of conflict, need not threaten a relationship. Some conflicts, such as those that include redefinition of a relationship require more serious adjustments than do those involving peripheral issues, such as the amount of money to be spent for a needed item or the time to leave a party.

If problems are clarified and if participants are satisfied with the outcomes of conflict resolution, tension is reduced and the relationship is maintained or possibly enhanced. If a quarrel is destructive, the issues may grow rather than diminish across time; frustrations may increase and the relationship may become strained.

Techniques of improving communication:

Communication is learned behavior, and communication skills, like other human resources, can be improved with practice.

“Constructive fighting” is the term that is sometimes employed when discussing effective resolution of conflict. The principles involve empathy-putting one’s self in the other person’s roles, judgment, and a human- centered outlook on life.

Guidelines for resolving conflict are

  1. Seek to understand, not to win.
  2. Let the conversation clarify the issues and differences.
  3. Make your position clear through a careful explanation of exactly what you think and how you feel.
  4. Try to completely understand your mate’s point of view and feelings by careful listening, questioning, and by a sympathetic attitude.
  5. Stick to the point and avoid side issues.
  6. Listen not only to the words said but try to understand and accept the feelings expressed.
  7. Get it out, don’t let it fester.
  8. Pick the right times to quarrel, if possible, when fatigue, hunger, illness, a rushed schedule, or the lateness of the hour do not prevent a happy outcome.
  9. Attack the problem. Not each other. Avoid words that shame, belittle, or damage the other’s ego.
  10. Quarrel privately.
  11. Let the quarrel end when it is over. This does not necessarily mean that a solution is found, but it does mean that tensions are relieved for now.

Because quarreling is a type of bargaining directed toward resolving conflict, emphasis should be on changeable behavior and the participants should request specific changes. It is assumed that constructive fighting involves complete openness, but letting out all hostile feelings may not be appropriate or constructive. Although verbalizing anger has been suggested to prevent physical violence.

Even if verbal expression of anger does not lead to physical harm, hurting and angry communication can inhibit trust. Communication based on anger can also inhibit perception and limit alternatives for resolving conflict. Handling conflict before it becomes a crisis can minimize problems of excessive anger.

The list of suggestions for constructive resolution of conflict includes the possibility that resolution may take some time. If disagreements have developed across time, determining their causes and implementing change may also require some time and patience. Because of serious, thoughtful interaction, people may evolve totally new and acceptable' solutions to their differences. Compromise is possible only if a range of alternatives exists. In such situations, participants in a conflict each yield to some of the demands or requests of the others. Dominance, temporary withdrawal, or dissolution the relationship are other possible alternatives for resolving conflict.

The worth of each of the forms of conflict resolution depends on people’s satisfaction with the results.

Timing of communication, for example, applies to a variety of day-to-day interactions. Tired, hungry, or preoccupied people have difficulties in paying attention to and in understanding messages. If a family member is distracted, or if others notice preoccupation within a family member, postponing communication for a short time can be an asset to interpersonal communication.

Effective communication is needed for interpersonal understanding in family decision making and management. Communication is a complex process that appears simple because people interact often. Effective communication involves similar perceptions of both senders and receivers. Because of long-term, day-to-day interactions, families develop unique styles of communication that gradually change. Because it is learned behavior, communication can be improve through concern for others and appreciation of intended meanings of messages.

Strengthening the Family Communication:

Effective' communication with others must be built upon a firm foundation of respect for self and others. In addition, there should be a strong conviction of the worth of developing communication skills; coupled, of course, with the recognition that there are times when people want to be uncommunicative.

As a message receiver, it is necessary to develop one's ability to listen care­fully to what another person is saying. This requires giving honest,' concentrated attention while the other person is talking. Don't try to fake interest or attention. Hear the other person 'out without interrupting.

The family has the same universe of discourse, its own private codes, and its own history which forms the basis for meaningful, nonverbal communication. Most communication is nonverbal.
If one accepts the fact that the bulk of an individual's communication is of the nonverbal type, and if one assumes that the family group has potential for developing 'meaningful communication skills, the need for developing nonverbal communication skills within the family becomes obvious.

Another important ability to develop is empathy. This involves not only imagining how others are feeling, but also, at times, it may involve putting into words how the other person feels when he "blows off steam" or confides in you.
Finally, developing the ability to be an effective sender of messages means being able to construct clear, unambiguous messages appropriately coded and treated for the person (s) to whom the message is being sent. It also means developing the ability freely and trustingly to let others know how you feel-not always in words. A touch or a small act of kindness conveys a world of meaning.

Clarity of communication may not lead inevitably to agreement on ideas, but it will be an aid in identifying and understanding areas of disagreement. Such understanding of points of disagreement is important at all levels of society, especially the family.

Family communication Strategies:

Communication not only serves the function of coordinating behavior but also of identifying goal. If the family is to function as a communication laboratory, as Over­street suggested, one worthy goal might be the development of a climate of "safety expression,-a feeling that the family is a group in which one can depend upon being understood. To do this channel for communication of family members must be kept open.

One simple strategy families might employ is to give some attention to the ways family members "sign on" and "sign off" each day. Pleasant greetings and a bit of humor in the morning can set the tenor for the day; similarly, communication at the end of the day may influence one's sense of well-being before sleeping.

Another strategy families could employ is to set aside time for regular communication of their members. Possibly this can be through plan­ning for shared experiences, outings, picnics, and the like. While these extra events may be interesting and pleasurable, the regular or repetitive character of the strategy should not be overlooked.

Last modified: Saturday, 24 March 2012, 4:52 AM