My parents had driven 14 hours from Illinois to visit our family in Kansas for the July 4th weekend. We planned to watch the fireworks together before they made the long trip home. But during the course of the evening, disagreements developed over our kids’ behavior. By the time the fireworks ended, heated opinions so had escalated that my parents left abruptly to drive home through the night. The tension was so thick you could cut it with a knife. I felt hurt, confused, and unsure of how to deal with family drama.
As a husband and father, one of the trickiest parts of leading in your home can be knowing how to deal with drama. No man in his right mind enjoys drama, but it’s a part of every family. So, how’s a man, father, husband, son supposed to lead effectively when the drama hits close to home? Here are some practical, powerful ways for how to deal with family drama.
Seek the wisdom of others first.
Every man is called to lead in his home. And leading sometimes requires that we are also being led. When dealing with family drama, if necessary, seek the wisdom of friends and spiritual leaders you trust. Also, one of the things I find most helpful when in need of wisdom is to simply read the Bible and pray. By doing so, I humbly recognize my need for wisdom and clarity greater than my own. And with trust and time, I’m usually able to find it.
Be the mediator when possible.
Here are some powerful words from Jesus Christ: “Blessed are the peacemakers.” Although you may not have known it from the start, this is a part of your job description as a man. In counseling with couples over the years, one thing it has taught me concerning the family is how to be an effective mediator in my own home. Between the loud voices and conflicting viewpoints, mediating sometimes requires being the referee who stays level-headed, maintains a controlled tone, and seeks to find common ground upon which to build.
Have the hard conversations when necessary.
I hate confrontation. You may be the same way. But confrontation is sometimes necessary—especially when someone in your family is clearly out of bounds. You can brush things off and under the rug for only so long. Or, you can kindly, yet firmly, confront unnecessary drama and stop it in its tracks.
Be the bad guy if you have to.
Sometimes leadership requires that you take a hit for the team. This may mean that neither party involved likes you in the moment. But it’s important to be willing to step up and lead even when it’s painfully inconvenient.
Lead others to be the bigger person.Family drama is often an opportunity for personal growth.
Leading those you love toward taking on a big-picture mentality is challenging, but crucial. Family drama is often an opportunity for personal growth. Help your family members see what their words and actions are costing them not only now, but for years to come, and coach them toward rising above the circumstances at hand.
Discourage social media drama.
One of the most common sources of family drama in today’s culture can be social media drama. It’s what I like to call “the hidden drama of the heart.” It slowly but surely creeps in and starts to take root. Discourage those you love from engaging in or succumbing to social media drama. Help them see the value of taking a break, the self-discipline of not having to respond, and their ability to stop following unnecessary triggers.
Encourage time to think and pray.
Sometimes our loved ones simply need to be encouraged to count to 10, go for a walk, or take a couple extra minutes in prayer to cool down instead of saying or doing something they regret. These simple practices can prevent unnecessary drama and work wonders in a person’s heart.
Earn some points: Are you married? Share this iMOM article with your wife: How to Be a Low Drama Mama.
Sound off: Which of these would be most difficult to implement in your family?
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “When you have a hard time getting along with someone, what do you do?”