Mediating with family at home can be challenging about now. Some people are mourning the loss of a loved one, a job loss, an unplanned event cancelation. Now all these individuals must interact with one another for unknown amount of time. While this may be provoking stress and anxiety, it does not have to be as bad as you may think. Here are 5 ways you can use to better mediate or deescalate arguments with family members and loved ones.

1. Listen- You may say, “that is all I do all day”…but are you really listening? Are you on your electronics or doing two or three things on top of listening to your family member? Make a rule at home where when someone is addressing another individual to give the other family member their individual attention.

2. Avoid distractions- When you are mediating, try to minimize any distractions around you. This can help you diminish confusion or more intense arguments or confrontations since the family members are in a quiet place.

3. Self-care- when you are the mediator, you must take care of yourself as well to avoid burnout. These times are testing times with all of us at various levels. Self-care is one of the most important activities to engage on when having high stressful situations like dealing with the pandemic quarantine.

4. Empathy- try to understand where the other family member is coming from and try to step into their shows to fully understand their point of view. Try to empathize with both sides and try to negotiate with both sides to find an agreement regarding the situation that you may be mediating or deescalating.

5. Reschedule -Sometimes all parties involved in the argument may be too aroused to actually have a healthy conversation or resolution. Experts often recommend for couples or families to set a time when they will come back and discuss their issue when they are more calm and able to communicate their difference. Rescheduling arguments may help to deescalate the emotions involved in the time when the argument begins.

Composed by Ann A. Stalcup, MS, Predoctoral Intern and U.S. Army Vetera