How to fight fairly

Fair fighting is a way to resolve conflict effectively.

Is there a fair way to fight fairly? Yes- there is! Resolving conflicts with positive communication can bring people closer together and make relationships stronger. Below is one way you can begin to learn how to fight fairly, as well as teach those close to you how to fight fairly. This works best in close relationships, such as those involving parents, partners, spouses, children, other family members or roommates. Begin by setting some time to explain fair fighting to everyone in the household. Each person needs to be willing to follow the steps and a chance to practice.

  • Conflict: The next time you find yourself arguing with someone close to you, stop, and think about your anger threshold, that point at which you know you are losing it. This is the point at which you can most effectively make changes. At lower levels of frustration, we all capable of some self-control.
  • Code word: Choose a code word for this threshold. All household members must agree to respect the code word. You can call the code word yourself, if your own anger has reached your threshold; or somebody else can call the code word if they see anger rising in you or in someone else. Give everyone a chance to practice using the code word.
  • Calm down: When someone call the code, everyone must stop talking and moving for one minute. During the one minute, everyone should try to relax physically and think calming thoughts. Be a model of calm.
  • Come back and try again: Once everyone is calm, seek to discuss the problem, using “I statements”. At the end of one minute, someone can ask, “Are we calm enough to talk?” If everyone answers “yes”, you can start to work on a solution together. Or you may decide that more time is needed to calm down. If that is the case, each person needs to go to a separate place for some quiet time.

Michigan State University Extension offers ”RELAX: Alternative to Anger” through the state as well as other great education programming for parents, caregivers and adults working with teens. 

Related Events

Related Articles

Related Resources