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Conflict Resolution Series: 3 Main Sources of Conflict in Family Life

The act of conflict resolution makes it possible to defuse hostility and restore peace to a given situation. Sources of conflicts are numerable and it’s fair to say that people find themselves in arguments every day.

While disagreements are usually unique to the people having them, there are some common and universal sources of conflict that average people experience in their families. Generally, the three main sources of conflict in daily family life are over:

- Parenting

- Money

- Expressions of Affection

Studies show that people come into conflict most over kids, money, and sex. These topics are generally the ones that get the most attention between spouses and, if left unresolved, have the highest correlation to divorce. How might these cause conflict?

Parenting Conflicts

If you and your spouse did not have similar childhood experiences, you may not have the same parenting style. Being unable or unwilling to negotiate parenting can lead to a number of issues - from kids getting mixed messages from divided parents to kids running the household altogether. Having the skills to resolve parenting conflict is a vital part of a healthy marriage and childhood for kids.

Money Conflicts

Money is 20% of the focus in a healthy marriage and 80% of the focus in a dysfunctional one. If money conflict is part of the factor, it can take over and make a marriage vulnerable. Being on different pages about income and expenses wears people out and cracks the foundation of what once was a solid marriage.

Expressions of Affection Conflicts

Generally speaking, a breakdown of affection can usually be traced to an origin story. The issue is the story is often tucked down deep into the vault of the offended person’s mind. Meaning - they aren’t being forthcoming about how they feel. Most arguments about expressions of affection - or the lack of expression - are deeper than people are willing to go. The push/pull surrounding the issue breaks down relationships and makes them vulnerable to dysfunction.

Do any of these common sources of conflict resonate with you? If so, you are not alone. As a matter of fact, most family court mediators can attest to the fact that a fundamental portion of divorce proceedings begin with a claim of alienation of affection, which leads to negotiating financial settlements and mediating custody agreements. Once divorced, many couples may return up to three times to dispute further issues with finances and to argue over parenting accusations.

These families are forced into mediation and made to resolve their conflict through trained neutral parties because they didn’t have the ability to resolve their conflicts back when they were married. Instead of having to deal with courts and mediation it would have been better for everyone if they had been able to resolve the conflicts on their own.

Once you’re aware that most family conflict is centered on three main issues - kids, money, and sex you can be more aware of the potential minefields and resolve your conflict before it escalates.

Are you ready to improve some area in your life with coaching? Call me to see if it’s a good fit… +1 971-319-0452 or email


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