It was a poor end to the week. At a family event, let me just say our children showed their less than precious sides. Unfortunately, this has happened a few times recently. Something needed to be done to address these matters. The usual course did not seem to be bringing meaningful or long lasting results.
We are riddled with many stressors and tensions, along with some great stuff! Our households are no different. Before your household resembles Mt. Vesuvius or your family unit feels like it is lacking cohesion and running amok, consider holding a family meeting. They can be a great way to resolve household concerns and strengthen the foundation of your family organization.
Like a business, an organization, or a team, a family unit must work together to run efficiently; have a united front and vision; and share concerns and successes. There are some great tips for having a successful family meeting at numerous websites like ehow.com; verydaylife; and lemon-lime adventures. From encouraging a set scheduled time once a week for meetings to actual templates to follow, there are some suggestions as to how to proceed.
I can tell you how ours proceeded. It occurred during dinner time. This does not always work in our house as a certainly vivacious three year-old can dominate dinner time with his less than proper meeting antics (A certain little boy happened to be sleeping during this dinner. Ahead of time, I came up with an agenda. I encouraged my husband to add anything he wanted to the agenda. Before we broke right into the issues that needed to be addressed, I told them a story about their great- grand parents and their grand-parents, to stress the character points we were focusing on at that meeting. This seemed to work very nicely on many levels, at keeping them engaged.
There was some discomfort when it came to bringing up specific behaviors that needed to be looked at and improved upon, to the point we had to ask the girls to keep focused and not duck the conversation. Ahead of time, I had written down certain goals for each girl. We reiterated what we expected and told them these meetings will be a regular occurrence in their lives. They will be used to check in and assess where we are all at as a family. We also made it clear that they needed to hold up their end of the bargain, in terms of behavioral changes and doing expected chores, if they wanted us to do the “extras” with them. Without mincing words, they were told being taken to and from, and quite frankly even being part of clubs and activities were a privilege they had to earn. There was room for them to voice any concerns or questions they had for us. It ended on a lighter note with some old, funny stories being rehashed.
While this “formula” might not work for all families, it seems to have helped ours. I have noticed a change this week. Now they must stick with the behavioral changes; refocused dedication to pitching in at home; and in terms of my husband and I, holding meetings weekly to address behavior concerns; motivate the children; keep them accountable; come together as a family, and hopefully get stronger and more cohesive…..