Fairly Engaging with your Family Members during Those Strained Moments?

Fairly Engaging with your Family Members during Those Strained Moments?


The interactions I have witnessed over the years in my counseling practice inspired me to come up with a list of the top 10 unfair fighting moves commonly made during conflict with family members. Peruse the sample of fair fighting rules below and notice how many you have violated in the recent past or are engaged in presently when at odds with family members.


Sample of Top 10 Unfair Fighting Moves

(found in Rock Solid Parenting: Secrets of an Effective Parent)

  • Putdowns — Labeling, name calling, insulting, sarcastic remarks, etc. *Communicated directly, indirectly, or mumbled.
  • Dominating – Verbally by yelling, or, physically by throwing things, pushing, etc.
  • Multiple Topics at a time — Bringing-up unresolved issues from the past or multiple topics at once.
  • “D” moves — Intimidator style of fighting such as being demeaning, domineering or dogmatic. Or, the distancing style of fighting; where you intentionally, or unintentionally, try to control another through isolating yourself from the person for long periods of time, or, become passive and give the silent or nearly silent treatment, in an effort to hope they will “get it … get it together…”
  • “You, you, you”— Focusing mainly on what you want the other person to change or do.
  • Fighting to the point where you forget the main topic or purpose
  • Assuming — Initially taking over and jumping to conclusions before gathering all the facts.
  • Bringing-up others such as siblings or friends in an effort to pressure the person to change.
  • Fighting for hours, all night, or for days — With no timeouts or reaching out to people who truly can help (youth pastors, counselors, etc.).
  • “It’s my way or the highway/no way!”


Can we expect our kids to possess effective communication and conflict management if day after day they are witnessing unfair fighting and ineffective engagements?


One of the most common reactions I encounter from individuals after they read the top 10 unfair fighting moves is a humble snicker and a comment such as: “I do many of these…obviously I need to do better, but what in the world can I do?” We clearly never intend to be thoughtless and careless with others, but unintentionally we are. So, if after reading this article you feel you need to work on your communication and conflict resolution skills reach-out to me at MentalRenewal or begin reading books like: The Anger Solution by John Lee or Rock Solid Parenting: Secrets of an Effective Parent.


With regard,

Lenore Doster, MA, PsyD

Licensed Psychologist

Author of: Rock Solid Parenting: Secrets of an Effective Parent