Kerryn Boogaard Kerryn Boogaard
Beverly Goldsmith Beverly Goldsmith
Zoe Bingley-Pullin Zoe Bingley-Pullin

Learn the techniques to remove all conflict from every meal and conversation:

Make family dinner family time
By Media Release
Date: December 24 2019
Editor Rating:

Our busy lives can make it more challenging for us to sit down and eat a family meal together. Finding the time isn't always easy. The family dinner doesn't just allow us all to be present and together and fill our stomach, it provides the opportunity to talk, share, laugh and check-in; it nurtures our family spirit, feeds our mind and improves overall health.

Research shows that enjoying family meals together lowers our children’s risk of depression and suicidal thoughts. Our kids are less likely to abuse drugs and alcohol and generally display healthier prosocial behaviour and are less likely to be overweight.

What happens though when our family meal is conflictual, family members argue, and the experience is tense and antagonising. Remember the old lessons from our childhood, it takes two to argue, this remains correct. Sure, we can have one family member being obtrusive or mean, however, this does not give us a free pass to be the same back. Usually within a family someone starts setting a different standard before others follow. It is often about learning better ways to manage conflict. 

In my new book Communication Harmony, I speak about the three secret words to diffuse and eliminate all conflict from every conversation. Once learned, you never need to argue with anyone again. For those who haven’t yet had the opportunity to discover these words there are things you can do to prevent that deterioration of conversation, especially at this time of year.

Normally we may be aware of who seems to enjoy arguing. The normal response when we feel attacked is defence. We tell them firmly they are wrong or unreasonable which in turn escalates a person who is after a dispute. Any conflict at meal time interrupts our digestive process leaving us with an uncomfortable stomach, heartburn or undigested food. 

Tips to diffuse any argument from meal time:

  1. Smile at the person who may be negative or argumentative and disassociate from their words – understand their words are directed to get a reaction from you, don’t. Just smile, take a breath and turn to someone else and speak about a completely different topic.
  2. Never defend yourself - let them know their words are ‘interesting’ that you may consider them later as you turn to speak about other things to other people. This validates the attacking person and dismisses them at the same time.
  3. Ask about them and what they think and feel – often that argumentative family member is ignored so we all feel safer. Include them in a conversation, ask for their input and comment on their thoughts and opinions on certain topics. Regardless if you agree or not, thank them for sharing their thoughts before either complimenting them, or disregarding what they may have said. 
  4. Never get into a heated discussion, it never ends well – if it is something you feel the urge to respond to, simply ask for validation of the reason they feel as they do. It may be a valid reason for them, just not for you or others. Just because someone disagrees with us or has a different opinion, it doesn’t necessarily make them wrong, only different.

Always a Reason

When anyone is regularly argumentative or conflictual, there is always a reason, even if you don’t yet know it. Perhaps they may have a self-esteem issue and need to feel heard and the only way they seek attention is by conflict. This occurs far more often than most of us realise. None of us normally get up in the morning and say to our self “I am just going to be mean and nasty to everyone today, I am just going to cause fights”. No, we don’t do that. Challenge yourself to see if you can discover the reason this person does or says as they do. It removes the personal from any harsh words and can make the meal more pleasant and tolerable.

About Dr Karen Phillip
Dr Karen Phillip has been a Counselling Psychotherapist for almost two decades, and a professional Clinical Hypnotherapist for over 10 years. Karen is an expert in the fields of relationships, parenting and communications and has helped thousands of couples and families resolve problems ranging from communication conflicts to parenting issues. Karen is qualified in many areas and is the family therapist on many television and radio programs. She is an International Author, Key Note Speaker and Trainer. Karen has private rooms and does considerable amount of work over Skype or Zoom working with people from all around the world needing a fast, effective way to correct personal issues, behaviours and relationships. You can find out more about Dr Karen at 

Share This Tweet This Email To Friend
Recent Comments
12 Total Comments
Amanda says: 2019 12 30

Thank you. Love this article. I love the tips, make so much sense. The reason is a good way to look beyond the words, never thought of that before.

mtom says: 2020 03 05

Thanks for the post, I liked its content and style. I discovered this web site on Google and also have right now added this in order to my personal book marks. I’ll be sure to visit again quickly. 먹튀검증


Nice post. I was checking constantly this blog and I’m impressed! Very helpful information specifically the last part   I care for such information much. I was seeking this particular info for a long time. Thank you and best of luck. benefits of kratom

mtom says: 2020 03 08

very nice post, i surely enjoy this excellent website, continue it best CBD oil

mtom says: 2020 03 18

Your current posts always possess much of really up to date info.  Where do you come up with this?  Just saying you are very creative.  Thanks again

mtom says: 2020 03 25

Loving the information on this web site , you have done outstanding job on the content . 사다리사이트

mtom says: 2020 04 22

You produced some decent points there. I looked on the internet with the problem and discovered most individuals go in addition to along with your website.

mtom says: 2020 05 17

I am glad for writing to let you be aware of of the magnificent discovery my princess experienced using the blog. She came to find plenty of issues, not to mention what it’s like to possess a great teaching character to get many others just know a number of advanced things. You really did more than visitors’ expectations. Thank you for giving such insightful, healthy, revealing as well as fun guidance on this topic to Lizeth. 스포츠사이트


You made some decent points there. I looked on the internet for your issue and located most people may go together with together with your web site. 메이저리그중계

mtom says: 2020 06 01

I truly appreciate this post. I have been looking all over for this! Thank goodness I found it on Bing. You have made my day! Thx again brass knuckles forbidden fruit


It is a massive and a highly intriguing e mail take a look at on this excellent weblog.


mtom says: 2020 07 07

nice one for taking the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic. If possible, as you gain expertise, could you mind updating your website with more info? as it is extremely useful for me. 메이저사이트

mtom says: 2020 07 13

Glimpse upon the idea within a lot similar manner when you would likely in case you were being building an not online jacksonville seo small business, which will, as a way to become sucessful, needs responsibility plus a good approach from the particular canceled out, using short pay back while in the first days to weeks. 안전사이트


Outstanding post, I conceive people should larn a lot from this web site its really user genial . 유흥사이트

View All Comments
Post a Comment
* your email address will not appear

Please enter the word you see in the image below:

Post a Comment
* your email address will not appear

Please enter the word you see in the image below:33343

Your Comment has been posted
Related Articles
Dinner can be a chaotic time for many parents. Often,…
Read more
Chef and mum of two young daughters, Karen Martini, believes…
Read more
Karen Martini says we should bring back family meal times.
Read more
Cry babies

Dry your eyes!
The newest additions are on their way from the Babies who cry real tears!


Latest Tech Used In Shipping Containers
Read how the shipping industry has revolutionised

Motherpedia cover-2

Win 1 set of a 4-book hardcover illustrated boxed set
Barbara Murray’s new 4-book Sound Stories is perfect for parents and educators and could assist with NAPLAN results

Motherpedia cover (4)

Where to celebrate Oktoberfest Australia
Get ready for this celebration!

Motherpedia cover-4

A Fortnight of Foodie Experiences at East Village
A taste of East Village. What's in it for me?

Globber my too fix up cover

We Try: Globber My TOO Fix Up
A scooter that grows with your child

Throw a winning cricket pitch

3 Steps to a Winning Backyard Cricket Pitch
Ex-Adelaide Oval legend curator Les Burdett shares his tips for getting your backyard cricket pitch test match ready this summer

A bike that follows your kids life cycle - motherpedia - cover

A Bike That Follows Your Kids Life Cycle
Check out the Bunzi 2-in-1 gradual balance bike!

Moonlight lifestyle

Moonlight Cinema to bring…
Moonlight Cinema announces brand new Western Sydney venue

Screen shot 2019-11-26 at 8.29.12 am

Your Magical Christmas Wonderland…
Adventure park is about to light up the night sky with its "Christmas Festival of Lights"

Screen shot 2019-11-21 at 11.11.36 am

The Preston Market Gets…
It's time to feel pumped up for the holiday season!


Bunnings team members get…
Help raise funds by buying a snag or donating at your local store.