TPJ 68: Who’s to Blame for the Family Fights?
Are you to blame for all of the family fights? Is it your partner? Your kids? All of you? None of you?
Today, we’re going to look at the way a certain mindset can ruin your home life. It can ruin your family. This mindset is known for ruining entire lives and entire cultures.
Do You Blame Others for All the Arguments?
If you find yourself blaming others for all the arguments occurring in the world or in your own home, please take the time to listen to this podcast. In my opinion, it’s a mindset that is so prevalent. You may not have ever even noticed that it was around, but today I’m going to help you to dispel it so that you can really immunize your family from this mindset and start to move away from something that is so very damaging to us, to our marriages, partnerships, friendships, family at large, and especially to our children.
How to Have a Solutions-Oriented Mindset
In the 68th episode of The Parenting Junkie Show, we discuss the mindset that has permeated our culture, how to avoid it, and instead have a Solutions-Oriented Mindset.
[03:32] The blaming mindset is rampant in our culture.
[08:41] How does blaming help?
[09:49] How a blaming mindset affects our homes.
[10:29] Blame triggers defensiveness.
[11:53] Blaming over-simplifies a problem.
[14:13] Blame makes people deflect.
[16:34] Instead, let’s develop a solution mindset.
[20:19] Say “We don’t blame in this family.”
We Love Blaming!
We live in a culture that loves blaming! The big problem that is plaguing homes all over the world is our culture’s Blame Mindset. And if it sounds like I’m exaggerating, I’m not sure that I am.
- We love witch hunts.
- We love burning people at the stake.
- We love public shaming.
- We love discovering scandals.
- We love to find the culprit
- We love to find the one responsible.
- We love to simplify complicated problems and find someone to take the blame and to suffer for everybody’s sins.
We Live in a Blame Culture
Blame culture is here and we’re living it. We really like this idea that there should be a hunt to track down evidence to find the source that led to the problem so that they can be punished and there will be revenge!
This is a culture of liability, of suing people, of trying to get back at someone when something bad happens, of revenge and righteousness.
Does Finding Someone to Blame Help?
In this culture of blame, we seem to be looking for blame in every situation as though that somehow helps.
In this culture of blame, it’s as though each of us has to look over our shoulders and make sure we’re not going to get blamed for something, for a mistake, for human error that can easily be made by anyone.
Here’s the problem with a culture that strives for placing blame on others. We do this in our homes.
Our Children are Blaming Each Other
Our children are fighting with each other over
- Who started it
- Who had it first
- Who hit who first
- Who was wrong
- Who is at fault
We are very quick to blame within our families.
You Might Even Blame Yourself
You might also be quick to blame yourself.
- Ugh I suck
- I’m not good enough
- I made such a terrible mistake
- I keep messing up
3 Problems with Placing Blame
Here are 3 problems with placing blame that will likely resonate for you.
1. Our Natural Reaction is Deflecting Blame
We start deflecting blame because nobody likes to be blamed. And when we get blamed, it triggers defensiveness 100% of the time.
We never get anywhere when we blame our partner or our kids.
When we say “You’re at fault – you shouldn’t have done that!” does someone ever turn around to us and say,” You know what? Thanks for pointing that out. That really helps me grow and take responsibility. I realize now that I did have a pretty big part to play in this, and I want to apologize and make amends.”
Is that what our kids say? Is that what our partners say?
No, because blaming leads to defensiveness.
What Happens When We Blame Him?
If we blame our husband for something, the first thing that happens when we blame him is he will show all the ways he is not to blame.
He will show all the ways that it was not his fault.
He may actually wash his hands clean of the responsibility, saying it wasn’t him. Or even downright lie or manipulate the information to show how you started it or how it couldn’t have been his fault.
So blaming someone is a very ineffective way of helping to figure out the origin of a problem.
2. Pointing Fingers Actually Simplifies the Complex Problem
The second problem with blaming in most cases is that it really simplifies the problem. It’s a very immature mindset, because usually there are many complex reasons that a problem comes about.
An argument between our kids doesn’t start because one bright, sunny day, someone decides to do something wrong.
Your partner isn’t trying to annoy you or to undermine you or to do something wrong. There are many different reasons that have led to them doing that.
And part of the blame is you.
Part of it is other people.
Part of it is circumstance.
Part of it is beyond our control.
If we get lost on the highway, it’s not because of me. And it’s not because of you. And it’s not because of the map. It’s because of a lot of different things. Perhaps I was distracted with a kid screaming or the map didn’t refresh. And then I took the wrong turn.
3. Does Finding Someone to Blame Even Help Us in Any Way?
How does finding someone to blame help us? How does this move us forward?
Blame only makes everybody deflect and find reasons to blame you. Frankly, it’s unhelpful and useless.
Offer the Benefit of the Doubt
I would like to be part of a family where people assume the benefit of the doubt.
I want to be part of a family where when I mess up (and I will, and I do,) people don’t think that it’s only my fault.
But where people assume that a bunch of different circumstances led to this situation.
Don’t you want that for you and your kids too? Don’t we want that for culture at large as well?
Let’s Change Our Blame Mindset to a Solution Mindset
Instead of lingering on with a blame mindset, we can develop a solution mindset. Instead of trying to be perfect and trying not to make mistakes so that we don’t get blamed, how about we try to shift our culture into a culture that understands that there are mistakes, that mistakes are inherent, that failures are just growing opportunities. And that we don’t look at even catastrophic results as something that we need to spend any time lingering on blame about. Instead, we can do something very different.
The difference is this, a blame mindset is always looking backwards. It’s going in archeological digs is trying to find someone, one thing, one person to point the finger at.
When we have a solutions mindset, rather than looking backwards, rather than centralizing the problem to one person, we look forwards and we look for ways we can all contribute to the solution.
We look for what’s next, right?
“We Don’t Blame in This Family”
One way to adopt a solutions-oriented mindset is to say very explicitly, “we don’t blame in this family.” There’s no need to blame.
Let’s talk about the problem and let’s talk about how we’re going to fix it or let’s develop empathy.
We need to look for solutions. Let’s turn this situation into a growth opportunity. How do we instead actually use this situation as a lesson? It sounds like this…
“I noticed that when this and this happened, we blew up in a massive argument. How can we do it better next time? How can we learn from this? How can we find solutions to this problem?”
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So Who’s to Blame for the Family Fights?
Who’s to blame is irrelevant. When we look for solutions, no one needs to get defensive because
WE’RE ALL ON THE SAME TEAM.
It’s us against the problem.
When we empathize with people and focus on finding solutions together, we’ll find that there’s opportunity for growth and learning, and it’ll strengthen relationships instead of tear them apart.