Creative Child

The Important Lessons of a Family Meeting

by Rebecca Eanes

Do you hold regular family meetings? If not, today may be a great day to begin because the benefits of family meetings are numerous. Perhaps the most important benefit is that meetings offer a regular point of family connection - a place and time to gather, to speak, and to listen. Through meetings, we can express appreciation and affirmations, make plans, discuss goals, and talk about what is and isn’t working well in the family. It provides each member with a time to have their voices heard and to feel like a valuable member of the family unit. It helps the family to stay organized and on track with goals, and offers an important place to draft your family mission statement.

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The following is my family meeting agenda. You may tailor it to suit your own family’s needs and personality, of course.

 

Opening Discussion Question

Our family meetings begin with a simple opening discussion question. This is just a way to get the conversation flowing. “Tell me something great that happened today?” or “How did everyone do with their goals this week?”

 

Affirmations

I believe it’s important to affirm our children and each other. As part of being a light reflector, I watch for the kind and good things my family members do throughout the week, and I bring those to light at the family meeting and encourage everyone else to do the same. “I noticed that you helped your brother with that LEGO build on Tuesday. That was kind. Thank you.” “Dad really helped me this week by picking up dinner twice when I had a work deadline. Thanks, Dad!” Remember to affirm your partners as well!

 

Concerns

Next, we discuss what is working well and what needs work. This is where I might mention that my son keeps leaving his toys out in his room and needs to work on getting those put away at the end of the day or how we can establish better study habits before tests. I try to discuss what needs worked on first and then move to what is working well to end this section on a positive note. So, I might say, “Last week we discussed doing chores without being asked and both of you did well at that this week. I appreciate that!” Our children are also allowed to share concerns, which sometimes sounds like “He took a part of my build to use for his without asking!” As long as dialogue remains respectful, I feel it’s important that they feel heard in their concerns as well, and with the problem out in the open, it gives us a chance to direct them in conflict resolution skills.

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