Rules for fair fighting
Avoid having arguments turn into heated discussions with understanding and agreement on some basic guidelines, or rules for fair fighting.
Arguing can be a good way for two people in a relationship to express their feelings of disagreement or displeasure, and to communicate past hurts and disappointments. It can also be a way to promote positive changes in a relationship. In order to avoid having arguments turn into heated discussions you need to have an understanding and agreement on some basic guidelines, or rules for fair fighting. Dr. Stephen J. Bavolek, author of “Nurturing Parenting” and several other family based educational programs, recommends the following ten rules:
- Decide on a time limit and stick to it – no more than 30 minutes.
- Decide how many hurtful remarks you will allow before you walk out.
- Choose one problem per session.
- Stay in the present – avoid bringing up old history.
- Stick to the point and don’t get carried away.
- Avoid blaming your partner for your feelings, they are YOUR feelings.
- Listen to the other person and really hear their point of view.
- Agree on a solution that works for both of you.
- Try not to argue at night or in bed.
- Don’t save up issues – things that are thought but not expressed will only come back to haunt you.
The best scenario is to talk about your feelings and thoughts on a regular basis with your partner and your children. Say what you need to say, but always take into account the other person's feelings. Being critical, making hurtful remarks and blaming others for your feelings leads other people to close up and feel defensive and angry. Using respectful communication and fighting fair helps people listen, gives them useful information, promotes a feeling of friendship and, best of all, promotes change.