yes, therapy helps!
The 8 types of family conflicts and how to manage them

The 8 types of family conflicts and how to manage them

March 30, 2024

The term family includes a group of people made up of people united by subsidiary relationships, that is, parents, children and siblings or by couple bonds . This system is understood as an open whole, in which all the components are closely related.

Due to this close and intimate relationship, the behavior of any of them can affect the dynamics of the family. Naturally, family disputes and conflicts are part of these dynamics . However, there are different types of family conflict; according to the type of link between the persons or according to the cause that originates it.

  • Related article: "Family therapy: types and forms of application"

Discussions and disputes in the family

Conflicts or disputes constitute an inseparable element of living in society Given this is composed of many different individuals with different opinions and ways of thinking. In addition, a well-managed conflict is established as a means for development and progress, so it is necessary to face it in order to learn from it.


Obviously, family conflict is natural, since in the coexistence of the members of a family unit, with different ages, thoughts and ways of seeing life, conflict is inevitable. However, the fundamental thing is not to avoid the conflict at all costs, since that is impossible, but to avoid the escalation of aggressiveness and to handle it intelligently and assertively.

At the moment in which in a family or family unit a conflict appears, There is also an instability that can lead to frustrations and worries Excessive in some members. In addition, old problems that were not solved and that only contribute to make the ball of the conflict bigger can begin to resurface.


Any kind of family crisis requires the cooperation of all the members , as well as a transformation and adaptation to a new situation; since during a family dispute the rules imposed in the family context become uncertain and it is necessary to return to work in them.

  • Maybe you're interested: "The 8 types of families and their characteristics"

Types of family conflicts

There are several ways to categorize different types of family conflicts. This categorization can be based on the type of relationship that exists between the agents involved in the dispute or based on the focus or cause of the conflict.

1. Types of family conflicts according to the type of relationship

Depending on the type of relationship or relationship that exists between the family members, four types of family conflicts can be differentiated.


1.1. Conflicts of couple

It is irremediable that disputes or crises arise in the context of a couple; However, if people are able to handle them properly these conflicts can serve to promote the reinforcement of the couple bond .

Usually these difficulties arise naturally as a result of communication problems or misunderstandings. The most common causes of daily conflicts in the couple are:

  • Communication problems : incorrect expressions, reproaches, emotional speech, insults, etc.
  • Sensation of loss of freedom and autonomy on the part of one of the members of the couple.
  • Try to change the other person's way of being.
  • Lack of problem solving skills .

1.2. Conflicts between parents and children

Depending on the stage of development in which each of the parties involved in the conflict are located, they can be subdivided into three categories:

  • Conflicts during the childhood stage: conflicts usually revolve around the development of the child's autonomy. In these cases either the parents are not clear how to grant that autonomy, or They do not believe that the son is moving in the direction they think is right .

  • Conflicts during adolescence: is the stage where the greatest number of conflicts arise . These appear when the children are between 12 and 18 years old and are given by the fluctuations or emotional ups and downs of this period.

  • Conflicts with adult children: when the children reach the age of majority it supposes the beginning of the coexistence between people and adults. Which usually have different ways of thinking and understanding how to live or organize their life, so this time also is likely to cause some family conflicts .

1.3. Conflicts between brothers

These types of conflicts are among the most common and those that last the longest regardless of the life stage in which each of them is located. These altercations tend to be maintained for a very short time and, most of the time, the intrusion of the parents is not obligatory.

The positive side of this type of conflict is that they constitute a prelude to the conflicts that may appear in adulthood, and therefore serve as initiation and learning for adult life .

  • You may be interested: "Older brothers are smarter than younger brothers"

1.4. Conflicts with the elderly

When an adult enters the stage of old age the changes experienced are extremely important. Both at the biological level, when the person notices the own corporal deterioration; as a social level, where they appear events such as retirement, the loss of friends or loved ones , etc.

This set of changes can be experienced in a very dramatic way by the person, giving rise to conflicts with the other components of the family nucleus.

2. According to the focus of the problem

These conflicts are categorized according to the source or focus of the problem, and although they are described separately, more than one type may occur at the same time.

2.1. Crises of the life cycle

Each change or jump from one stage of the life cycle to another is usually accompanied by some conflict, this is due a series of factors such as new responsibilities , assimilation of new roles or events such as marriages, retirements or deaths.

If these conflicts try to neutralize or are managed in an insightful way, they can become real family crises.

2.2. External crises

The origin of these crises lies in ** the sudden appearance of an unexpected event **. These events range from the loss of a job, some kind of accident, the death of a loved one, etc.

What usually characterizes these crises is the search for the guilty by the most affected person , instead of trying to get used to the new circumstances.

2.3. Structural crisis

In this kind of difficulty, old crises or events are repeated and renewed, causing conflicts to reappear among the members of the family.

2.4. Attention crisis

These crises are typical of family units in which dependent or destitute people reside. In these cases the conflicts appear when the people in charge of their care are limited or restricted their usual activities or their freedoms .

Tips to handle family conflicts

It is necessary to understand that in a situation of family conflict, not everything is negative. A conflict can be a perfect opportunity to learn new ways to solve problems. First of all, we must identify the concrete causes of the conflict so that we can work on the possible changes on them.

Some tactics or strategies to handle disputes effectively are:

1. Practice active listening

Paying full attention to what the other person is trying to transfer, as well as making sure that they have understood their demands and that the other person is aware that they have been understood.

  • Related article: "Active listening: the key to communicating with others"

2. Monitor the way you talk

Use careful language and correct expressions are essential to maintain good communication .

A good way to express feelings in an appropriate way is to replace the reproaches by manifestations of what is being felt or of what the person feels hurt or hurt. Also, it is necessary to raise or suggest alternative solutions to the problems that have caused the crisis .

3. Allow the intervention of all those involved

It is very frequent that in any type of dispute the people involved take the word off each other, or that they do not want some of the others involved to intervene in the solution of the problem.

However, this is a serious error. Since you should not prioritize any of the parties involved and all of them have the right and obligation to intervene at the same level.

4. Express affection

Even though you are experiencing a conflict situation that can be stressful, it is important to continue expressing signs of affection and affection; since they lower the tension levels in the relationships.

5. Find the right place and time

Due to the emotional component of family conflicts, on many occasions people tend to argue at any time and place. But nevertheless, it is better to postpone the discussion for when the moods are calmer and the context accompanies and facilitates the dialogue.


Conflict Resolution (March 2024).


Similar Articles