Steps of a Family MeetingRon Huxley LMFT
Family Meetings are a great way for families to communicate with one another. It provides a forum for making group decisions, assigning responsibilites, sharing positive feelings, and choosing activities for family fun.
Here are some guidelines or steps for a family meeting:
1. Meet on a regular basis.
2. Everyone gets a chance to talk.
3. Everyone gets treated with respect and has an equal say (but parents have veto power for harmful or unhealthy decisions).
4. Stay with the real issues and don't get sidetracked.
5. Keep the meetings short and stick to a schedule.
6. Focus on members strengths and not their weaknesses.
7. Keep a record of the family meeting and post where everyone can see it.
8. Rember to plan for fun.
Although family meetings are a great way to encourage open communication and respect, there are some potential pitfalls. The first is when one parent refuses to participate or there is only a single parent in the home. Fortunately, it only takes one parent to make a final decision. And making decisions as a family helps the single parent by gaining the children's cooperation and support. Make sure to explain the purpose of the family meeting which is to make important decisions and plan for fun.
Another pitfall is trying to find a time for the family that works for everyone. If a time cannot that be found that works for everyone, try rotating the meeting time to accomadate other members schedules. If they simply cannot make the meeting time, then ask for their input on any known agenda items and brief them on the decisions and activities of the meeting.
The last pitfall is when children (especially older children) act as if having a family meeting is stupid or childish. Rather than drag them to the meeting, let them know they don't have to come but that some important agenda items are going to be discussed that they may be involved in, such as who will get what chores or where the family will go on their vacation.
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Ron Huxley is a Licensed Marriage, Family & Child Counselor and owner of ParentingToolbox.com
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