- It's not your responsibility to fix it.
- Choose your time wisely when you bring up things with your parents. For example, the middle of your Mum and Dad's argument about finances is not usually the best time to ask for an increase in your pocket money.
- Your tone is just as important as what you say. If you say something in a calm, non-aggressive way, you are more likely to be heard than if you use an aggressive, angry or whining tone.
- Spend some time journalling or reflecting on what's going on before you talk to your parents - it will help you to collect your thoughts and calm down a bit.
- Acknowledge other factors that are contributing to how you and other family members feel - you may have had an argument with a friend or have received a bad test result. Your Mum may have had a bad day at work.
- Use I statements when discussing difficult topics, rather than "you" statements. For example, instead of staying "you're always tougher on me," say "I feel like you are tougher on me." This small change can make a big difference.
- Be humble - it doesn't go down well if you tell your parents your parents what they should do. They have a lot more life experience than you and you might not know the full story.
- Be patient - these kind of conversations are difficult and don't always go well.
- Don't feel like you have to have the last word. Know when to stop. You don't have to win.
- If things get violent, get help. If it's urgent call 000. Australia wide you can call 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732). Each state also has it's own domestic violence helpline - check this link for more information.
Family conflict is part of life. It can be worse at Christmas time due to things like fatigue and busyness, financial strain and pressure to keep up with the Joneses (buy the best gifts, Christmas tree, festive lights etc.). Trying to spread yourself around when your parents are separated or divorced can be stressful. Dealing with extended family can also create more drama at Christmas. Here are some things to remember when dealing with family conflict: