Family meetings are really hard especially if you have teens who are trapped in the vortex of teenage life.
Barton Goldsmith states in Psychology Today in 10 Tips for Holding a Family Meeting:
Strengthening the family bond can prove to be challenging even for the most dedicated parents. One of the best tools to achieve this goal is holding a Weekly Family Meeting.
But let’s just go back to the chaos of last week for a moment. Recall how you missed the baseball game where your teen scored the winning run? Or the Wednesday dinner disaster because you were so busy with a product launch that you forgot to do a grocery shop.
Imagine how wonderful it would be to have a tool that helps your family effortlessly manage all your activities free of stress and daily meltdowns.
FAMILY MEETINGS: HOW TO DO IT SMART
This post shows you how to make family meetings the superpower that makes your family organized, efficient and happy.
I have created special Family Meeting Templates to help you rock them from Day 1. Just click the graphic below to download them.
Yes, your teenager may fight you all the way. But just know that
family meetings are a powerful way to transform the day to day lives of your family.
They are another great addition to your other family traditions.
Even better, they strengthen your family relationships, growing bonds based on respect, open communication, trust, and loyalty.
You get the rare chance to really connect with your teen.
This post is a joint effort between Taylor of accomplishedfamily.com and me.
7 AWESOME BENEFITS OF FAMILY MEETINGS
Family meetings are more than getting together to organize and coordinate your family’s activities. They are invaluable for the life skills they develop.
Here are 7 welcome side effects family meetings. They:
• Reinforce family values
• Build family identity and loyalty
• Teach the interdependence of family members
• Develop communication skills, confidence and self – esteem
• Grow problem-solving skills such as healthy debate principles
• Develop good values like tolerance and compromise
WHY FAMILY MEETINGS ARE VITAL FOR TEENS
If you have teenagers in your family, family meetings are a game-changer.
Your teenager is like a dormant volcano. Beneath the poise of teen coolness, bubbles a constant battle to survive from one day to the next – erratic hormones, self – image issues, acne, poor confidence, and so many other factors all combine to make him likely to erupt at any slight.
That is why family meetings are so important. Your teen gets a chance to put on the agenda topics that concern him. You get to know your teen better and steer him to make healthy choices.
It’s really a win-win for everyone.
Enter family meetings. Keep the meetings positive. Let there be an atmosphere of tolerance and understanding. This will make your teen feel:
• free to voice his views without fear of censure
• safe to express his anger/frustration/disappointment
This will put an end to you walking on eggshells around your moody teen. It sets the tone for free and open conversations about a range of topics that may have been taboo before.
Dear parents, this could be the best parenting weapon you will ever have.
For example, if you and your teen often argue about curfews, put it on the agenda and this thorny matter will be resolved amicably.
Chances are that you may be able to understand your teen better if he is able to raise his concerns without fear of being chastised.
A classic foundation for superstrong family bonds.
HOW TO ORGANIZE A FAMILY MEETING
BEFORE THE FIRST FAMILY MEETING
Arrange a fun family date to discuss the idea of family meetings.
Points to cover are:
– Day, time, venue and duration
– Chairperson and note taker
– Meeting rules and format
FAMILY MEETING STRUCTURE
You need to work out a proper structure that works for your family.
Ensure that the family works together on the agenda. I have great Family Meeting Templates to help you design your agenda for your family meetings.
Just click the graphic below to get the templates.
Here are a few ideas to include on your agenda:
– What worked well this week
– What do we need to improve next week
– Events/ activities on this week
– Topic of the week
If you’re new to the idea of family meetings, read this post for more info.
I am so pleased to have Taylor of accomplishedfamily.com do the next part of this blog post. She is a Writer and Family Transformation Coach from the Tennessee Mountains. Sharing tips on achieving real goals with your children and family is her passion.
Sometimes, when we have busy family lives and schedules it seems impossible to find time to really connect with our families.
There’s always an activity your teen seems to be involved in. Whether it’s baseball, basketball, church, or summer camp – hard is an understatement when trying to devote specific time to family meetings.
5 TIPS FOR SUCCESSFUL FAMILY MEETINGS
When you hold a successful meeting, you find that your family grows closer, has a deeper bond, and ultimately enjoys spending time together.
How would it feel to know your teen actually looks forward to this time?
Here’s how to be sure to have a useful, effective, and fun meeting:
1. Remain open and positive
Teens might become a bit closed off if you go into the family meeting asking them why they haven’t done their homework or chores yet.
Keep things light, ask them about cool things that are going on at school, or perhaps ask them what the best thing about their week was, or ask what they’d like to do for the weekend.
Bring in humor, as this will be your big connector. It will allow the family to have a more memorable meeting. However, if the meeting becomes more intense with deep questioning, be sure to remain open, and actively listen to what your teen has to say.
2. Make attendance enticing, but optional
We all know teens gripe when new things like “weekly family meetings” are introduced.
But a fun way to tempt reluctant teens to join is to attach it to something they enjoy – a pizza treat or movie night. Be creative here.
Forcing your children to be there isn’t going to be a fun experience, as forced participation will likely pull down the entire vibe of the meeting. This will likely end up making everyone else involved suffer.
3. Ask everyone in the family to join in
You should invite everyone who is part of the family to take part in the meeting.
This could be anyone from in-laws to the weekly babysitter. Whoever is a part of the day to day schedules, or someone who is present every week.
If someone isn’t participating you could ask them what’s on their mind, what’s on their agenda, or if you need more ideas here’s 40 questions to ask to get to know someone better.
4. Pick enticing meeting places
Don’t set the tone by saying you must meet at the dinner table weekly. Boring! Make it interesting!
If your family has been wanting to make brownies, move your family meeting to the kitchen and start the fun. You don’t have to be confined to one place.
Ask them where they’d like to meet next to increase excitement and participate. They want to be part of the decision process.
Ask them if they’re interested in learning (insert something specific that you know they’d like,) If they answer with, “I just want to play more basketball,” Go with them. More console games? Grab a controller. Meet them where they are.
5. Pass the baton to a different member every week
This is another way to help them feel more involved in the process.
Ask them to think of one cool question to ask if they are leading the family meeting for the week. This will push them to get creative, and it will give you an insight into things to expand on.
After the meeting is over, post the best part of the meeting on the fridge, along with the location and time of the next family meeting.
Other tricks for family meeting success:
Channel your creativity to find fun incentives to get the meeting off to a successful start. Maybe the winners of the most creative question and solution to a problem get no chores for a week.
Once you’ve won the kids over to family meetings, let them know that it is an equal rotation, and they will all have the opportunity to chair. This will get them excited for the next meeting.
Know that you can have a fun time for free. I realize I mentioned the $20 visa card above, but that was only an example to entice.
There are other ways depending on your family and what you each like. You all may really have wanted to go for a canoe ride or a camping trip. Maybe the winner gets to decide and plan the next trip?
If you find that it is difficult to get the communication going, consider a family coach who can help things flow more effortlessly.
Be sure to make the first meeting about scheduling family fun.
Know that this may start slow, but it is so needed and helpful for your family. Everyone wants to feel like they’re part of the family.
Consider making this a weekly event that each member of the family can enjoy.
Once you start, you’ll be surprised to find that this gets easier and easier if you keep at it. Don’t let it go if it gets tough! Reach out for extra help if needed. But, if not? You’re well on your way to a closer family connection!
If you work to implement the strategies mentioned here, you will see your family come together in ways they never have before.
Pssst!! Hilary of pullingcurls.com has a super course with a special module on Family Meetings that is sure to make your family meetings awesome.
Get more information on how to get the course here.
When will you start your first meeting? Do you have regular family meetings? Share your experience in the comments below.