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5 simple rules to maintain harmony at home

How to put an end to the bickering before it begins?


It will not be easy- but we can do it if we follow these 5 simple rules to maintain harmony at home and if we promise to catch ourselves when we break one rule.


I don’t need to remind you or myself that we love our families. That is granted and obvious. 


My only aim in writing this article is to provide five simple rules that will ensure that our time together at home is not a cycle of frustrations, anger, resentment, regret, and apologies, only to watch the cycle repeat itself the following day!


So, how can family members avoid conflict?

Let us try to follow these five simple rules:


Rule # 1 Consider the Source of your Anger before Reacting.


For example, tensions at work are making you angry, not your family!

Before you respond in anger to any situation, count to 5 and ask yourself, “is my anger caused by the action taken by my family member or by something else?”

For example: am I really outraged because my child did not put his plate in the sink AGAIN or am I frustrated because my manager changed their mind about the project for the tenth time? I am not saying that we should completely relax the rules and allow our children to become slobs. I am merely encouraging us (me before anyone else) to let go of the small irritants. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Relaxing the rules will give everyone more room to interact more peacefully. 


Rule # 2 No Flashbacks Allowed.


Time spent with our families is precious. Why do we sometimes sabotage these moments by reverting to Hot Topics that have caused problems in the past?

For example, movie night is probably not the best time to discuss, yet again, how our significant other’s 3rd cousin by marriage was rude during a supper 15 years ago and our significant other was not as offended as we were, knowing fully well that every time this topic comes up, it does not end well!

Family time is not the time to rehash old fights. It is not the time to “talk about that subject we have been meaning to talk about,” but that will surely end in a fight. Family time is the time to remember happy memories. Take out the photo albums, watch family videos, enjoy reliving those moments instead.


Rule # 3 Don’t Add More Items to the “To-Do List”.


Just because your significant other promised to fix, paint, change, rotate or change ANYTHING once upon a time, three years ago, and has not yet, the odds are that they will not fulfil the promise when their defenses are down while swallowing the last bite of a delicious family meal. I am not saying we should not GENTLY remind our significant other of their pledge; I am just suggesting that after the sixth reminder; we let a month pass by before another reminder. 


Rule # 4 Physical Distancing Is An Option (the one good thing we learnt from the pandemic).


If possible, take 30 minutes every day to sit by yourself, away from the rest of the family. Live in an apartment? No problem, go to the bathroom and take a bubble bath!

Too much togetherness can lead to some friction. There is a reason the saying “absence makes the heart grow fonder” has been passed down from generation to generation! Take the time to read, pray, listen to some music, anything that will re-energize you!


Rule # 5 Talk less–Listen more.


I wrote an article about avoiding conflict during Christmas and this section stood out:


“Silence is of gold” should be our new mantra!


Every family has one, an aunt/uncle/ cousin/ that speaks their mind and whose tongue is not dripping with honey. Knowing that this person will be at the family dinner is enough to cause one to stock up on antacids! The best strategy, when confronted with this family member, is to nod and smile. Don’t engage, don’t think of a witty comeback, just nod, smile, and walk away.

This is not a defeatist strategy; this is humility, another lesson that we learn from our Lord during Christmas. Ignoring our pride’s request for revenge and accepting snide comments with a smile and silence will transform the gathering. This is easier to accomplish than transforming the personality you are dealing with (let me spare you the grief, stop wishing that they will change, they probably will not- baring a miracle).


Now, apply this strategy to your interactions with your own family. A simple but effective way of ensuring your tongue is dripping with honey is by asking yourself these brilliant questions before saying a single word: is what I am about to say kind, necessary, encouraging? If not, why say it?



I leave you with this magnificent promise from the Bible:

 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” Matthew 5:9



In Christ,



Other articles you might enjoy: Teaching Children to be Grateful


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