Dealing with Conflict when Caring for a Family Member

Did you ever do something but not realize that there was a name for it? Something like…”my grandma taught me to make this yummy egg casserole, it’s kind of tricky when I do it perfectly it’s all puffy. And your friend says you mean a soufflé?” Yeah like that.

In recent months I found out that other people have a name for one type of work I do related to eldercare coaching,they call it conflict coaching. Conflict coaching is working with a person who has a conflict he/she wants to resolve and needs help figuring out if the problem should be tackled, how to tackle it and providing time to practice or role play having a conversation.

Here are my suggestions for how to deal with the inevitable conflict that comes up when caring for a family member.

Do some thinking to zero in on the problem. While you may have multiple concerns, you are likely to not make a lot of progress by addressing a bunch of concerns all at once, so pick one. I’m going to leave it up to you to decide if it’s the biggest problem you tackle first or a small one to get some practice.

Spend some time thinking and writing about what you need in this conflict. What specific changes need to happen from your perspective?

Spend some time thinking and writing about what you think is the perspective of the person you are having a conflict with. Really put yourself in his/her shoes.

Write out what you want to say when you talk to your family member.

With a friend, counselor or eldercare coach :) do a role play of the conversation. Your role play partner should not be too easy or too hard on you and offer realistic objections to your concerns so that you can practice.

Hold the conversation with your family member.

Debrief with your role play partner about what went well and what needs more work.

Here’s to successful communication!

Questions or concerns with these communication steps? Just reply to this newsletter with you’re your comments and I’ll answer.

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