Here's a line to remember when we have a spat with our spouses or kids: "Conflict is inevitable but combat is optional."
Susan Adcox posted this Max Lucado line on her grandparents.com blog. She says she tries to remember the maxim when she has disagreements with her husband but "when it comes to family disputes, there's no surefire way to avoid them and no single best way to deal with them."
When we push one of the hot buttons we have with our grown children--or they push ours--the conflict may escalate into combat before we know it, and we may find ourselves powerless to stop it. It's much safer to go have a conflict with a spouse, with whom we have a one-on-one track record of 30 to 40 or more years. Been there, done that spat before. And we know we'll lay down arms and get back to our normal non-combative selves before long.
But with our grown kids, the relationship is somehow more volatile. Yes, we've got a long track record with them, but the stakes couldn't be higher. An argument with them carries the ultimate threat: They could cut off contact with us. Combat may be an option but loss of visiting privileges is not one we want anyone to exercise.