Family Meetings can provide a great place for families to improve on communication skills and give everyone an opportunity to be heard thereby instilling a greater sense of belonging. They offer a safe place to solve problems, share concerns, listen to other people’s opinions, discuss schedules, plan vacations, divide up chores, role-model respectful relationships and a whole host of other positive things.
If you have never had a family meeting, here are a few ideas for getting yourself started:
- Select a day and time which the family can regularly commit to. Lighting candles, using talking feathers during the meeting and having a special dessert or family game night afterwards can all work well to help create a relaxing atmosphere and an occasion to look forward to.
- To start the meeting, begin with some appreciations. For example, go round in a circle and say something encouraging about the person to your right or say something that you were proud to have achieved during the week. Then discuss and come to an agreement about a fun family activity for the week.
- Close the meeting.
This sets the scene for a meeting that is non-confrontational, positive and a fun place to be. After a few weeks of practicing these Stage One meetings, you can progress to Stage Two. This is when you can introduce problem solving to the meeting by encouraging your children to add some of their issues and concerns to the agenda. Once you have run the Stage Two meetings successfully you can move on to Stage Three where parents can introduce their concerns to the agenda. Family decisions made at these meetings tend to be followed because everyone has had input into the process.
Always remember to start and end the meetings on a positive note. Be cognisant of the fact that if family meetings become a place only to voice negative things or things that are not going well, they will very quickly become an occasion that no one looks forward to. You should also aim to keep them relatively short and focused.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
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