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How To Conduct A Family Meeting

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Why Have a Family Meeting?

A family meeting is valuable for many purposes, including considering educational choices, planning vacations, announcing a difficult or sorrowful occurrence, dividing household chores, planning an event, clarifying the budget, addressing discipline problems, etc.

Goals Of A Family Meeting

  • Get results. Teamwork is needed and the team leader must be respected and feel confident that he or she can lead the group in establishing a purpose and getting the desired results. A good leader will help each member of the group learn his or her role and influence in the process. Good team members will concentrate, cooperate, and consider facts and opinions during the meeting.
  • Everyone participates
  • Everyone contributes to problem solving
  • Everyone works to prevent stresses and emotions from harming family cohesiveness, closeness, and respect
  • Identify, address, and solve or improve problems and challenges facing the family
  • Use the challenge as a way to help the family develop problem-solving skills, improve weaknesses, and strengthen the team

The Process

First, gather everyone together in a comfortable room. Next, review the last meeting and praise good behavior, academic achievement, hard work, successes and victories over problems shared during the last meeting, etc. Then point out current problems or challenges and allow time for discussion and input from everyone. Establish the goals of the current meeting. Moderate the ensuing discussion and encourage brainstorming. Finally, agree on a plan of action and discuss the time frame, rewards, discipline, training, and actions needed to implement the plan.

A family meeting is a gathering of family members to address an important purpose, at a specific time and place. Done well, a family meeting is a tool that provides an efficient structure for sharing information from each member in order to identify problems and plan solutions.

Helpful Tips

  • Give everyone a chance to express an opinion.
  • Speak positively, even when disagreeing or criticizing.
  • Show respect for others’ viewpoints and characteristics.
  • Praise strengths and accomplishments.
  • Choose appropriate topics; don’t ridicule, shame, or embarrass anyone.
  • Encourage two-way communication and “I” messages.
  • Share control of the group.
  • Schedule regular family meetings.
  • Hold family meetings even if there is no crisis or problem to address.
  • Take time during the meeting to pray or share a quiet moment for reflection.
  • Make family meetings fun by providing food, by including a variety of topics, and by promoting humor; don’t make family meetings a chore.
  • Evaluate the meeting at the end.
  • Stress to all participants that family meetings are confidential

How Your EAP Can Help

Would you like to learn more about how to conduct a family meeting?  The Employee Assistance Program can help with personalized family coaching.

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