1. Make stronger connections among individuals and, therefore, creates a closer family.
In this very busy world, designating this time every week is one way to ensure that family members stay connected with one another. Relationships are living things, and must be nurtured. Family meetings are about nourishing our relationships with the most important people in our lives. Form the habit of connecting regularly.
2. Create family value statements and operating principles.
Family meetings give you a chance to discuss what’s important to you as a family and to create family value statements, which reflect your collective thoughts. Similarly, they give you a chance to talk about how you want to operate together as a family and treat one another, by developing family operating principles.
3. Share appreciations and give thanks for our many blessings.
This is a way to give children and adults permission to let one another know how much they are appreciated, and to share the many things they have to be thankful for. It is far too easy to take the blessings in our lives, and our loved ones, for granted if we do not form the habit of appreciating on a regular basis.
4. Improves family communication
More and more today, family members are going in different directions and at break-neck speed. Add to this the fact that each person is unique and perceives the world in his or her own way. Miscommunication can cause hard feelings. It is crucial to never assume that what you are saying is being understood the way you intended it, or that you are understanding what others are trying to tell you. Always take the time to check perceptions. The family meeting can be a “rest area” where time is set aside to make certain that communications are clear.
5. Provide leadership experience
Everyone gets a turn at leading the family meetings. This is a great way for children to get early leadership experience. Be certain that their contributions in this regard are honored and respected. You will be building a confident future leader, who will experience the joy of positive leadership.
6. Offers an opportunity to stay current regarding upcoming commitments, activities, and events.
Family meetings are wonderful opportunities to review the family calendar, clarify who needs to be where and when, as well as who will be taking responsibility for what. Once again, clear communication and joint planning can relieve the ongoing stress of busy lives.
7. Gives an avenue to celebrate each other’s successes.
This is most important. Family meetings should always contain a time to celebrate successes of each family member during the week. These need not be big, monumental events but can simply be every day successes. This not only creates pride and joy in daily life, but also forms the habit in each family member of looking for the positive in one another.
8. Provides time to plan family vacations, activities, and special events.
This gives everyone in the family a chance to give their input into a family trip or experience, rather than the adults always doing the planning. When the whole family is involved, everyone is much more likely to enjoy the event. Investment in family activities, for each member, is often directly proportional to his or her involvement in the planning. A richer shared experience is most often the result.
9. Establish a safe, respectful environment to problem solve.
By following the family’s operating principles, and with open and honest communication, children will learn that problems can be discussed openly and solved respectfully together. Creating win-win solutions takes practice, for adults as well as for children and youth.
10. Have fun together
These meetings provide a great opportunity for the family to participate in fun family activities. As family members get to know one another better, share stories, laugh, and problem solve together, deeper relationships develop. Try to weave fun into every family meeting.
Copyright 2004 by CoachVille & Dan and Suzanne Bond
About The Author
Dan and Suzanne Bond
As a school teacher, high school principal, and superintendent, I worked for many years with parents who were raising their children. I have boy/girl twins who will be seniors in high school next year. It is my strong belief that ALL parents want to be good parents. Being a mother of twins and a working mom most of my career, I know the feeling of a busy schedule coupled with the desire to make meaningful connections with children. It is my desire to help parents/caregivers make those connections with their children and share character-building values with them as well.
I earned by doctorate degree from Seattle University in 1982. I recently retired from the superintendent's job and work just part time as a coach to people who studying to become principals and superintendents. I am excited to provide this same kind of support to parents and other educators who may learn of my services.
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