Your family should be your primary source of support, love, and acceptance. While this is the expected norm, some families today are falling short when it comes to maintaining healthy and mutually beneficial family connections. This mostly happens when one or several members do things that seem to undercut the unity in the family, and if unaddressed, creates unhealthy, long term consequences.

To develop stronger family relationships, you first need to identify what the primary problem is.

Here are 5 of the most common mistakes that can lead to serious family rivalry.

1. Deception

Lies and deception are some of the most common problems in many families today. Regardless of how long it will take, lies will eventually come out and can hurt someone in your family. When discovered, deception can actually split families apart unless the problem is addressed effectively. To avoid this, you should consider coming clean and owning up your mistakes instead of trying to cover them with lies. Once you start deceiving your family, you will just have to keep lying to cover it up. It never really ends. 

2. Failure to acknowledge your differences

Even when people are raised in the same environment and within similar circumstances, it’s impossible for them to turn out to be exactly the same—and that’s not a bad thing. That said, it’s common for some members to fall short of the family’s expectations. The fact that some family members are a bit different from others should not be used as grounds to exclude them. Instead, you need to exercise empathy and support their differences to strengthen your relationship with them. 

3. Gossip

The effects of gossiping may not be as apparent in the beginning, but gossip can cause a lot of damage to your family relationships. Gossip normally develops when a family member is upset with another member of the family. They may end up spreading information about the relatives they are angry with. With time, word of your gossip can spread and other family members may take sides in your tussle. This weakens family relationships, leading to divisions. To prevent this from happening, it’s advisable not to say negative things about other family members whenever you are in a conflict with them.

4. Criticism and insults

Criticism and insults coming from other family members can have a negative effect on your emotions. Words meant to insult or criticize carry a lot of weight, especially when coming from your own family. Harsh criticism and insults can only weaken the bonds you have and even destroy family ties altogether. Choose your words wisely, even when you are angry or hurt by other family members. Your response can either escalate or de-escalate the situation. 

5. Failure to apologize or forgive

Disagreeing is normal for families. While this shouldn’t be a cause for alarm, such disagreements can escalate into much more serious problems if not addressed appropriately. This happens when your ego swells up and makes it difficult for you to apologize when you have wronged another. In addition to this, failing to forgive other family members when they apologize can also create barriers and serious family divisions. Withholding forgiveness and apologies make family ties more fragile and should be avoided at all costs.

Empathy, love, understanding, and forgiveness are some of the most important virtues when it comes to maintaining strong family bonds and resolving family conflict. To avoid creating unnecessary conflicts within your family, aim to steer clear of these mistakes. Take a moment now to think if you’re guilty of making any of these mistakes yourself. What can you do to mend the damage and improve your family relationships?