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How to Start Having Family Meetings

Having family meetings is a great way for family members to stay connected. It’s easy to get distracted by our own lives and lose focus on the bigger picture. Every family member has their things going on, but you still have to function as a family unit and care for each other.

Creating a space for family conversations allows everyone to stop what they’re doing and focus on each other for a change.

If you have a teenage son who won’t bond with the family or only focuses on himself, it can be tough to bring everyone together in the way you want. Though family meetings will likely feel awkward at first, everyone will get used to them and become more comfortable with them.

It’s important for everyone in the family to feel valued and know that their opinion matters. When your son starts to feel like he is valued within the family meetings, he will probably warm up to them.

If your son consistently refuses to participate in the family meetings or tries to sabotage the meetings, he may need additional intervention. Kids who refuse to be part of the family or attempt to cause chaos within their family often have underlying mental health problems.

Contact us for more information about our boarding school for troubled boys to see if therapeutic intervention could help your son.

Why have family meetings?

Family meetings give everyone a chance to share more about their day-to-day activities, major life events, and upcoming plans. Even though you might spend time together throughout the day, most families don’t get the chance to sit down without distractions and talk to each other.

While the rest of your time together can also be important and help you bond with your kids, it’s not the same as bringing everyone together.

Some benefits of family meetings include:

Staying up to date with everyone in the family. This is a chance for all of you to talk about big events in your lives. It might be something major like getting an acceptance letter to college. Or it might seem small, like trying out for a sports team at school. No matter the event, it’s important for each family member to know that they’re supported and know that their family cares.

Getting input on family decisions. If you are coming up on a family decision, the family meeting is a built-in time to get everyone’s input. Again, these decisions could be major, or they could be minor. Maybe you’re thinking of moving and want your kids’ input before you make the final decision.

Perhaps you want to know if there’s anything in particular they want for the Thanksgiving meal this year. For family decisions, the meeting is a chance for everyone to express their opinion and feel heard.

Boosting your kids’ conflict-resolution skills. Family meetings are bound to result in some disagreements. By learning to disagree in a healthy way at home, your child will be better prepared to deal with conflicts at school in a positive way.

How to start having family meetings

Family meetings don’t have to be especially formal if you don’t want them to be. However, you need to be clear with your family about the importance of the meetings and the structure of the meetings.

Some families like to have their family meetings together around the dinner table. Others prefer to get together in a sitting room to make it more formal. The location doesn’t matter as much as the content of the meeting.

Here are some things to consider when planning your first family meeting:

  1. Eliminate distractions. Wherever you choose to hold the meeting needs to be distraction-free. Make sure that the TV is off, music is off, earbuds are out, and cell phones are put away. Everyone in the meeting needs to be fully present in the meeting.

  2. Set a time limit. Just like at work, no one is happy when meetings drag on forever. Set a clear start and end time for the meeting and hold everyone accountable to those timeframes.

  3. Create an agenda. When a meeting doesn’t have an agenda, it can become chaotic. Your kids won’t understand the point of the meeting, and they won’t know what their roles should be. When you set an agenda, everyone knows what to expect and how to participate in the family meeting.

  4. Set some ground rules. Going into your first family meeting, write down your goals for the meeting and think through possible ground rules. Then during the first meeting, present them to your family and let them have some input on the ground rules. Rules could include things like:

  5. Only one person speaks at a time.

  6. If there is a time limit for your speaking time, adhere to the time limit.

  7. No name-calling.

  8. Be honest.

  9. Attend all family meetings.

  10. Set a schedule for the family meetings. Unless it works well for everyone’s schedules, you probably won’t want to meet every day. Figure out a schedule for your family meetings so that they happen consistently. This will help everyone in the family plan their calendars with the meetings in mind.

If your teenage son refuses to cooperate with family meetings or purposefully makes them stressful, you need to address his behavior. Teens with mental health problems related to focus or relationships can have a hard time with family cooperation.

At Sundance Canyon Academy, we have worked with countless families to help them restore positive relationships within the home. Contact us today to find out how we can help your family.

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