Family Conflict – Care And Control


All families have arguments and disagreements. Mostly these can be resolved given time and effort but sometimes things can go too far. We all have a boundary, or line that we do not want crossed but sadly some people can push against this boundary, knowingly or otherwise, until it is crossed or even trampled. The results can be devastating.ladybird-on-a-leaf

Some people say adult arguments and fights should be hidden from children but it seems to me that this is both impractical and unreasonable. Disagreement and family rows just don’t happen in an orderly fashion. It would be so convenient if all our cross words only ever happened when the kids are in school, but real life just isn’t that convenient, no matter how hard we try. Besides, I wonder what would life be like for child who grew up never witnessing, or dealing with conflict?

ladybird-on-a-leafConflict can occur when one member of a family tries to impose limits on the behaviour of another. Of course this is necessary when parents are caring for young children but it can be a problem between adult family members.

‘Free As A Ladybird’ is about a mostly happy family. However, and there is always a however in family stories, the family falls apart when the mother in the story tries too hard to protect her own mother. Protection in this case has become a form of control. The story is observed and narrated by a young teenage girl. Natasha loves her mum and her granny but is dismayed that they argue so much. One day they go too far and an argument about her grandmother’s lifestyle escalates into a full-scale family row. Natasha can only watch, powerless, as the two women she loves most hurt each other beyond repair.ladybird-on-a-leaf

The two women have a catastrophic fight. Words are exchanged that are too harsh to be forgiven, or forgotten.In a reversal of the usual mother daughter control issue it is Natasha’s mum who wants to change her own mother into a more demure, stereotypical type of granny. But granny wants to enjoy her life as she chooses and she is proud, strong and very determined to do her own thing.


Just like in real life the characters in story can take a long time to forgive and forget. Sometimes one or both characters must go on a journey real or emotional before they can find it within themselves to be at peace again. In this story it is granny who leaves home, embarking on an adventure and allowing them all the time and space to heal.


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