In some families the only communication that happens is when we’re passing one another in the hall or going out the door or at bedtime when everyone is tired. Everyone goes and does their own thing without really seeing each other. And so communication breaks down because no one is taking the time to talk about issues or anything else that needs to be discussed. Now that school is about to be out for the summer, your schedule may need a complete overhaul. When this happens, communication can become fragmented and ineffective.
This was happening to our family, until we started scheduling family meetings. This helped immensely. It brought everyone on the same page. They’re communicating and issues are being dealt with quickly so that they aren’t allowed to drag on and create conflict. By meeting regularly, the communication becomes proactive and conflict is avoided.
Here’s how family meetings work:
This is not a long thing. You’re not going to do it for hours and hours. Maybe it’s only 30 or 45 minutes or whatever. Maybe play a game and have a dessert. Make sure that there is balance on your agenda between fun and important stuff that isn’t quite so fun. Sometimes there’s some family business that needs to be taken care of, but when there is balance and a fun activity, dessert at the end or whatever, everyone will show up and participate. Do at the end though, not the beginning because it’s useful motivation to keep everyone engaged with the meeting till it’s over. It’s the reward for everyone being on the same page and doing a great job.
It’s much easier if you commit to the same time every week. If you’re just trying this out for the first time, make a commitment to do this for at least four to six weeks. And once you’ve had the benefit of these meetings, you will really get a sense of how they’re going to work for you and you’ll notice what effect or impact it’s had on your family. Commit to the same time every week and keep the agenda simple.
Also, make sure the conversation is non-judgmental. For example: “Here’s the chores that need to be done this week” so it might be deciding who is going to do what. Maybe one of the meeting agenda items is that everyone changes up and does something different each week. You might put all the jobs in a hat and draw them out. Or all the jobs are listed and someone just puts their name beside them, so it’s fair, there’s buy-in and there’s choice.
Holding regular family meetings helped our family, and it may help yours because when communication is proactive, conflict is reduced. When everyone feels listened to, respected and treated equally by you, behavior issues are a lot less likely to occur.
About the Author
Charles Murray Anderson has been helping parents improve the relationships with their children, their partners, and themselves using simple yet effective methods that have lasting effects. Hundreds of struggling parents have been able to turn around difficult child behavior immediately with his free online parenting course, webinars, and e-book. To find out how positive discipline can change your relationships, visit Blissful Parenting and Child Behavior Problems Help for more information.
Earnest Parenting: help for parents who want to use family meetings effectively.