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How should I deal with personal conflicts?

Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Medicine
Many individuals have wondered if the cultural makeup of how they were raised influenced how they resolved personal conflict. Do the lessons they learn from childhood carry over into adulthood? It has been shown that gender does have an influence on conflict resolution.

In a male culture, having a high position, power and winning are most important. Not only do young boys learn to compete in their games; they also learn to compete and to have disagreements. They learn the art of power at an early age and can resolve disagreements and conflicts successfully. Boys may lose, but after the game ends they are friends once again. 

Young girls have less experience at settling disputes and conflict; they may just walk off and say, “I am not going to be your friend anymore.”  Girls do not acquire the skills necessary in childhood to deal with direct conflict They hold grudges for a longer period of time. Girls growing up are to be nice, get along, secrets are important, relationships are important, share, do not be a show-off, put the needs of others before your own, and avoid conflict.

These characteristics persist into adulthood. Two women criticizing each other’s ideas at a meeting will leave with hurt feelings, and they will not forget what was said. Males may battle it out fiercely in the boardroom but then leave and have lunch, just calling it business as usual.

These are just theories on why you may handle conflict differently. Learning appropriate conflict skills can be learned.
Lisa Oz
Health Education
The next time you find yourself in an ongoing argument with someone, try switching sides. Give them all the reasons to show why they are right and have them defend your position. For example, if your teenager wants to go to a party on Saturday night, let her demonstrate why this is a terrible idea, while you try to convince her that it is perfectly acceptable. See if there are any points on which you both actually agree. Create a resolution from the areas that overlap.

Take an inventory of your relationships. List the good ones, the mediocre ones, and the ones that you, frankly, could do without. Beside each one, write down the ways in which you have grown or reacted poorly because of it. If you find that the relationship has had a negative impact on your personal and spiritual development, resolve either to bless it and put it in the past, moving on without resentment or to improve it by changing yourself.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.