Family Meeting

With Easter and Passover on the horizon, families may be gathering from afar, making it a perfect time to hold a family meeting.

There are many excellent resources, online and at your public library, for conducting Family Meetings; and all can be adapted to fit your needs and circumstances.

Here are three tips to get you started:

Institute meetings at regularly scheduled intervals that work for your family.

We email ahead to confirm meeting times during the holiday periods when we typically get together, which is once or twice a year, since we don’t live near one another. Encourage commitment by keeping them a high priority. Begin and end on time.

Keep things focused with an agenda.

This too can be emailed ahead of time, with input from family members. Minutes that are taken and journaling exercises can become a family journal to look back on. The roles of leader and secretary can be rotated until everyone feels at ease with how to conduct an effective Family Meeting and depending on the teaching and learning to be done during that meeting.

Use “I-Messages.”

This is a way of airing issues constructively that does not make others feel attacked or defensive. Example: instead of saying, “You always interrupt me and dominate the conversation!” say, “I feel badly when I’m interrupted. It makes me feel like my ideas don’t matter.”

And, here’s a fourth “extra freebie.”

Always end with something fun that affirms good feelings.

Enjoy a family tradition–at dessert, play a board game that everybody enjoys, watch a DVD together.

What things have you found work for you, or what objections have you heard or overcome to set up family meetings?

Stock photo credit: University of Wisconsin Extension