As stated in a previous blog entry, entitled Elder Care and Estate Dispute Resolution, many people believe that conflicts involving these matters (“Family Conflicts”) boil down to two ideas: (1) it’s all about the money, or (2) it’s all about sibling rivalry. While these two factors do play a role, there are other influences that create road blocks to resolution. Some of these factors include:

  • Differing Viewpoints – Family members have experiences in life that shape their belief systems, which beliefs influence the way they see the proper resolution of Family Conflicts.

  • Personality Differences – Inherent personality traits influence the roles individuals tend to play in team activities. When those activities involve the types of matters highlighted in my blog entry, Difficult Decisions Facing Families, individual family members may be required to play roles contrary to their natural personality characteristics, causing stress for all.

  • Control – The question of who should be in control can be influenced by many factors, such as birth order, gender, or historical roles assigned within the family structure that a given individual may have spent a lifetime embracing or overcoming.

  • Economic Disparity – Often family members may have had differing levels of financial success in their lives. The sibling that has more independent financial resources may be expected to pay more. The sibling with less independent financial resources may believe that if he or she is expected to pay as much as the more financially secure sibling, he or she may be damaged. Either thought process can lead to resentment.

  • The Sandwich Generation – The term Sandwich Generation came into being in 1981 and refers to adults, often between the ages of 30 and 55, who find themselves caring for aging parents as well as their own children under 21. The demands of managing all these activities and sacrificing any personal goals can create much anxiety for the care-giver.

  • Geographic distances – When family members live across the county and far from the aging parents, it becomes difficult to allocate resources in the context of who is going to help with which activities of caring for an aging parent.

  • End of life care – Religious and philosophical beliefs can influence end of life choices.

  • Who should run the family business – When many family members work in a family owned business, the potential for conflict is extraordinarily high. All of the influences described in this blog, including sibling rivalry, come into play.

  • Blended families – the issues involving blended families can complicate conflict resolution exponentially. However, the conflict resolution techniques that may be employed in resolution of any Family Conflicts do not change.

    If you are experiencing a Family Conflict, contact Keystone Conflict Solutions LLC at or (404) 314-7228 to learn if Mediation or Conflict Management Consulting can be of value in assisting you or your family.