Family Meetings: Decrease Problems & Increase Peace
Holding family meetings is one of my favorite tools I share with parents that I work with. I learned this great idea from one of my favorite parenting books, Positive Discipline for Teenagers. Holding weekly/monthly family meetings can make a big difference in resolving ongoing issues.
Why have a family meeting?
- To create a foundation of working together as a family
- To have a time dedicated for problem solving issues, creating more ease
- For all family members to feel heard and important
- To share compliments and connect
- To have fun!
How to hold a family meeting:
1. The Agenda: leave a piece of paper out for family members to add a problem (something they want resolved or to change) to as they come up during the week. Sick of the backpacks not being put away? Add it to the agenda. Your teen is tired of her sister taking her clothes – she can add it to the agenda. She hates what you serve for meals – gently let her know that that sounds like a good addition for the family meeting agenda. Don’t insist. Notice if they do. You can add it later if you want to.
2. Compliments: Go around and have everyone offer one thank you for something someone has done, acknowledgment of something that has accomplished or an appreciation for something you like about another family member. When you notice something good, you can say, “That would make a good compliment for our family meeting”. Now that everyone is hopefully in a pretty good mood…this sets the stage for the next step.
3. Brainstorming for Solutions: Bring agenda. Give compliments. Then choose a problem from the list on the agenda, set a timer for two minutes. Ask everyone to throw out any solution (realistic or crazy). No discussions during brainstorming – just offering ideas. When the timer goes off, cross out any solution that is not respectful/practical/helpful. As a group, come to a consensus on choosing one solution to try until your next meeting. If you can’t all agree, table it until next time and move on to the next issue on the list.
4. A family Fun Activity: (such as a game/puzzle, cooking, bike ride or a movie): Brainstorm ideas for family fun activities to do at the end of your family meeting or to put on the family calendar.
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