Family Meetings

Since most families are dealing with busy lives and hectic schedules, carving out enough time during the week to talk, make plans, and work out important issues together can prove to be very difficult. Many families have found that conducting planned "family meetings" is one way to regularly reconnect with each other, reinforce family values and strengthen family bonds. Families who hold regular family meetings are able to "air out" feelings and "iron out "unresolved issues before tempers flare and issues turn into full-blown crises. Sound intriguing? Give family meetings a try and see how they work for your family. Following are eight tips for conducting successful family meetings:

  1. Schedule a day and time when all family members can attend the entire meeting.

  2. Discuss family concerns such as work and school assignments, recreational activities and complaints. Negotiating family rules may also be a topic of discussion.

  3. Give each member the opportunity to talk and encourage each person to participate equally in the meeting.

  4. Make sure someone leads the meeting and someone writes down the topics and all family decisions. It is very helpful to start each meeting by reviewing the notes from the previous meeting.

  5. Model, practice and recognize effective communication skills and problem solving techniques. The way in which the adult family members conduct themselves during the meeting will teach the other members how to communicate and behave (good or bad) so be careful to practice what you preach.

  6. Encourage participation by striving to understand other family members’ points of view.

  7. Make decisions collectively to demonstrate that the family is a team working together.

Schedule time during the meeting to acknowledge and emphasize the positive things that happened and review any decisions reached. Discuss the day and time for the next family meeting.

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