One of the most useful parenting tool is the family meeting. While family meetings are useful for solving problems within the family, it also teaches children many significant life skills. These include: communication skills, cooperation, mutual respect, creativity, brainstorming skills, responsibility, expression of feelings and how to have fun as a family as well as problem solving skills.
The following is a list of the important components of a successful family meeting was derived from Positive Discipline A to Z by Nelsen, Lott and Glenn (1993):
Set a regular time for the meeting, preferably weekly.
Post an agenda for everyone to see and add to.
Start with compliments and appreciations to build a positive, validating atmosphere.
Have a chairperson and recorder. These positions can be rotated.
When solutions are brainstormed, everyone must agree upon a solution before it is implemented.
Often discussion and expressing feelings are all that is needed about an issue.
Coordinate a family calendar so rides can be planned and important events can be noted.
Some families end meetings with a game or dessert.
Family meetings take time to be successful. Remember, you are teaching and modeling life skills during this time as well as the short term benefits of problem solving. Allow the process time to evolve.