3 Ways Healthy Fathers Can Dissolve Family Conflict—and Find ‘Calm’ Together

When James pulled in the drive from work his mind was on a cold beer, turning off his brain, and watching sports.

His wife and kids could wait.

Once he’d chilled, he’d figure out how to negotiate with his wife and kids. Coming up the walk, he hears the sound of angry yelling between the kids and their mom. He wanted to turn around and leave. He was feeling overwhelmed.

For most men, the response of withdrawing into themselves or becoming aggressive is a habit they learned in their childhood family conflicts. Men are learning to help their families’ tough emotions as he learns how to handle their own.

As James understands it’s possible to take a moment and calm himself, he’ll share that calm with his wife and children.

Here are three easy directions James (or you or I) can use to begin changing our families’ habitual conflict:

    • Be a loving husband
    • Be a model son
    • Be humble  

When we come home in the evening we call all choose to be:

Loving husband:

Spend a few moments quietly preparing for returning to the family.

Relax the best way you know: breath, close your eyes, pray, and appreciate something in nature—the sky for example. Say to yourself: “I choose now to be a loving husband,” and love your wife in that moment.

Model son:

Bring your parents in your thoughts to appreciate them.

Go beyond any resentments or losses, and watch yourself grow from a sperm and egg into the man you are, with their help, doing their best.

Be humble

Remember that you don’t know how the house or the world is going to be when you come in the door.

Know that you are a powerful part of your family’s life. Life is giving itself to you as your family. Life is willing to appear as you, regardless of your choices. And life will support you as you choose to be the best father you can be.

Develop a habit of loving your wife, parents, and children each time you return. Your children are waiting for you to teach them who they are. Whether they’re fighting, happy, sad, or confused, they’re figuring out who they are, with your help. That’s what healthy fathers do. We help our kids figure out who they are.