Family meetings are a wonderful way for families to enhance relationships, promote unity, teach family values; such as: work ethic, perseverance, kindness, spirituality, and other values that are important in your family. Family meetings keep families connected, increase self-esteem for children, and create a happier and close-knit home.
As a child we still remember and cherish those times when our parents took the time to look us in the eye, teach, advise, and encourage. It means so much to our kids and by teaching problem solving, character, and relationship building early on, this fosters self-confidence and independence for our kids.
A family meeting is a structured discussion time that typically involves all members of a family.
Here are some tips for facilitating family meetings:
- Family meetings should be regularly scheduled, about once a week.
- You may want to consider having some norms or expectations for meetings; for example: we will treat each other respectively, we will use active listening, we will “share the pie” meaning that each person gets roughly the same amount of time to speak, and we will encourage each other and bring one another up.
- Ask open ended questions to stimulate discussions.
- Special meetings can be called to discuss an important issue that cannot wait until the next regularly scheduled meeting.
- Listen with empathy as you discuss topics together. Acknowledge feelings, so rather than say “don’t worry about that,” “it is nothing,” a parent can say, “that must have been really difficult,” “I can understand why you would feel disappointed.” This way kids feel heard.
- Initially it is usually best to keep family meetings short - about 15 minutes. As families get better at communication and decision-making, the meeting times can be lengthened.
Lastly, Family meetings help busy families stay connected and should certainly improve relationships, communication, and keep your family closer during the ups and downs that we all face in life.