Family meetings seem like a good idea. Many parents with grown children may look back and wonder, “Why didn’t we do that?” Then they remember the busy lives, sibling arguments, stages of prima donna posturing, parental conflict, and adolescent contempt for parental wisdom and understand why family meetings ended up in the dustbin of family history. But, if you can build them into family life, you won’t regret it.
It is best to start having family meetings when children are preschool or early school age—while family dynamics are still somewhat new and changing, and the resistance to change of the tween and teen years has yet to set in.
Family Meeting Tips
- Prior to meeting with the children, parents should decide on what topics and decisions are appropriate for discussion and which are off limits. Set these ground rules at the beginning of the meeting.
- Use meetings to share feelings but avoid family meetings being a time for “family therapy” to resolve deep or complex issues in relationships.
- Use the first couple of meetings to decide how to proceed: where to have the meetings, what topics to talk about, and what the meeting rules are.
Maybe family meetings will become a part of your life, maybe not, but it’s worth giving them a try. Whether it is a one-time thing or a regularly-scheduled event, family meetings are a great way to bring the team together, reconnect, share experiences, laugh with each other, make plans and look ahead, and get all family members on the same page. Teamwork strengthens family bonds, and family meetings are a great setting to facilitate strong teamwork and togetherness.
- Step-by-Step Instructions for How to Hold a Family Meeting on About.com
- Learn more about how to Connect with Children through Communications in our previous e-Family News article.
- Get more tips in North Dakota State University’s Family Communication and Family Meetings article or in this Mom Central’s Weekly Family Meetings post.
Originally published on Bright Horizons