You may have heard a lot about Family Meetings and wondered why would you do them, what is the point? Here I have outlined 10 great reasons to consider trying it. I challenge you to try a couple, remember everything new takes time to work properly do not give up. If you persevere, you will begin to notice a healthy shift in how your family functions.
- Family Meetings provide opportunities for every member to feel valued for their contribution. The World Health Organisation comments “…is able to make a contribution to her or his community” in it’s definition of wellbeing. A child’s community starts in the home with the family and broadens as they get older. If they learn the skills and the sense that they do have something of value to contribute in the family, they will establish a life long habit of contributing to the broader community, enriching not only their lives but those around them.
- Accountability – children and parents learn to follow through on commitments made to each other, developing trust in themselves and others.
- Parents are the leaders of their families, however family meetings give children a safe space to discuss worries and concerns without judgement.
- Children rarely have control over what is expected of them and what they are asked to do, family meetings give children a voice on a level playing field. In most families, some siblings hold more power than others, often the oldest over youngest; this process shares the power and with power comes responsibility, both must be taught in equal measure.
- Children are given the opportunity to influence decisions made in the family. Of course there will still be times where parents will not take issues to the meeting for discussion and will just step up as the leaders and make decisions for the greater good of the family as a whole. But, if the decision does have room for negotiation, taking it to a meeting gives children a great sense that this is a genuine process and not tokenistic.
- Creates a sense of shared responsibility, if children are part of the process; making decisions, setting rules and consequences, there is much less chance of resistance when it comes to enforcing them.
- Develops healthy conflict resolution and negotiation skills, these are qualities that will stand them in good stead for whatever their future holds, in relationships, the work place and community involvement.
- Develops listening skills and if you don’t have the talking piece, you are listening to who does.
- Fosters turn taking as each needs to be quiet and attentive while others talk and wait for their turn to speak.
- Learning to appreciate that people have different points of view and to communicate respectfully.
If you now feel inspired to give Family Meetings a try, hop over to my Parenting Solutions page and check out the packages available to support you to begin!