To be in a family is to experience confl ict: it is an unavoidable feature of family life. However, families vary tremendously in how they handle confl ict. Episodes of confl ict can be productive, helping to facilitate communication, or they can be damaging, destructive, and even dangerous. For researchers and clinicians who focus on families, theories of why confl icts develop, how they unfold, and how families resolve them (or fail to resolve them) warrant close attention.