Family Meetings are one of my most favourite positive parenting solutions and as Family Practitioner, it is very normal to talk within a family context. Many families are not sure that they are ready to integrate them into their routine. In this blog, we will discuss the benefits, how to plan and my tips to implement a successful family meeting. Here is my short video, for a more detailed view read on:
Benefits of Family Meetings:
They are an excellent way for families to communicate regularly and they will promote and encourage many skills such as:
- Problem solving
- Shared decision making
- Setting rules
- Distributing rules fairly
- Thinking about the week ahead
- Spending time together
- Settling conflicts
It may be important to assess whether your family is ready, answer some of these questions. In two parent family, do each of you feel you have equal power in the relationship.? In a blended family, can issues be discussed without putting down the step or biological family member? Do you regularly take into account your partners opinions when making decisions.? Do family members feel they will be listened to most of the time and what they say is valued and heard.
If you can say yes to those, ( if not then you may need a neutral mediator so contact me) then here are my
Tips for successful Family Meetings:
Think about what you want to achieve, have a flexible and open attitude. At first plan activities that everyone will enjoy, you could start at age 4, as soon as your children can talk, always invite everyone. If someone opts out tell them that you will be making decisions without them and you would rather they be there to contribute. Keep the meeting short 10 -20 minutes. Have pens and paper so they can colour and draw.
Ensure you commit to the same time and day and ensure they are regular, it’s important that you can model commitment, you need to make them a priority.
Start with praise
always start the meeting modelling praise and what everyone has achieved that week. You can start with simple plans for the week and fun family get togethers.
Rotate Chair and Timekeeper
Giving a child an opportunity to be responsible is important, and it will demonstrate equality and help everyone to practice problem solving skills, however you model in the first instance.
Have a rule that only one person speaks a time and you could have a teddy or something to help with this ( ie, anyone who holds the teddy can speak) Everyone needs to listen when this occurs. The leader keeps to the topic.
Start with simple house rules
Ask everyone want changes they would like in the family so that everyone can get on better. Write three but work on one at a time. Try to agree a consensus. Children are much more motivated to change, if they feel they can discuss the solution.
If things get too hot to handle call a break
Sometimes there may be conflict and it could get heated so call a break for 10 -15 minutes and resume the meeting.
and finally end with something fun and that affirms everyone such as popcorn, a game, a walk or something everyone enjoys.
Enjoy and look out for next blog on how to implement effective House/family Rules. With love Catherine
References: http://extension.colostate.edu/topic-areas/family-home-consumer/10-tips-for-successful-family-meetings/ https://centerforparentingeducation.org/library-of-articles/healthy-communication/holding-family-meetings/