Families and ...




Managing Time





The Teen Years





Making Positive Choices

Families are made up of individuals, and each person in a family will have different goals and desires. What one member of the family does affects all the other family members. When family members disagree, conflicts can arise. Conflict is a normal part of every family, but strong families develop effective ways to resolve it.

Families use different methods to resolve conflict. The children’s ages, the parents’ ideas about who should make decisions in families, and the way the family lives all affect the way they resolve conflict. Two-year-olds are able to make fewer decisions than teenagers because their knowledge and thinking abilities are more limited. Some parents believe they should make most of the decisions; other parents believe in sharing decision-making with their children. Parents who live in dangerous neighborhoods may have more rules and make more decisions for their children in order to keep them safe.

Although families differ in the way they handle conflict, strong families have certain things in common. Parents in these families have made clear rules about important things: rules that are needed to keep the children safe or to respect deeply held family values. Parents in these families explain to children why rules are important, and parents in these families consistently enforce the rules. But they also change rules when children have outgrown them.

Do it: During a time together, ask family members to identify family rules in writing. Family members may write these on paper, or you may compile a list. Make a list of the common rules. Talk about how rules are developed from a need of safety or family well-being. Note which rules might cause conflict. Discuss why these rules are important.

Share it: Talk about the activity and what was important about sharing family rules. Talk about the importance of having rules.

Look Closely: What similarities and differences were there in the family rules? What rules seem to cause conflict? What might be appropriate ways to deal with conflict?

Generally speaking: Rules can have both positive and negative consequences. How can this activity help family members learn more about each other and the need for family rules?

Extending Our Knowledge: Think about other rules in our society or in our schools. What other places do rules play an important part of safety or human protection? What ways can our family help in following the rules?

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