Tag Archives: family meetings

Did it turn into a food fight? It’s alright, you just hadn’t read the manual yet!

Sound familiar?

Sound familiar?

For a lot of parents, when they first hear of the idea of family meetings it sounds like an extra chore. Perhaps a bit too formal. Or something that the other parent, or one child in particular, might not agree to. Then they find that when they hold an informal meeting in the kitchen over doing the dishes, things run a bit more smoothly that week. The calendar was set, and that nagging issue of the laundry going into the wrong baskets was resolved. What if regular planned family meetings could actually be productive?

Well, they can! What’s more, I bring you good news. Katherine Gordy Levine’s guide, ‘How To Hold Successful Family Meetings’ will be available on Amazon Kindle for free for 5 days.

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Still not convinced that your family could benefit? Think again. Here’s a fantastic recommendation for this eBook:

As a licensed clinical social worker and family therapist, I have the distinct pleasure of helping family members communicate better and connect with one another. Helping parents step into their role as “leader” in the family is often part of the process. For a parent, knowing how to effectively be in charge can be at the top of the list of parental challenges. And as many parents know, when they are not effective, general chaos can ensue, children run the ship, and parents get run ragged. After reading Katherine Gordy Levine’s How to Hold Successful Family Meetings, I was both inspired and encouraged to introduce my families to this simple and thorough approach to family communication. The book offers explanations for communication breakdowns in families, solutions for repairing the breakdowns, and tips for strengthening bonds between family members. It does more than that, though. It reminds parents to be kind to themselves! They are already “good-enough parents”.

It is true that parents today sometimes get caught in a power struggle with their children. The firm authoritative voice of parents past is often replaced by `parents as friends’ or parents saying “I am just not there enough, and I feel guilty, so I give in”. Something as simple as regular communication can calm the struggle and restore the parent’s natural abilities to guide their children. Holding scheduled and consistent family meetings in which all family members have an opportunity to talk about concerns, goals, hopes, weekly accomplishments, house duties, and agenda-items, such as “family fun events”, allows family members to listen to each other better, be more direct with each other, and have fun together once family business is done.

As stated in the book, the family meetings are designed in the same manner as a business meeting is run, a “family business” meeting. Everyone is allowed the same amount of time to speak, there is an agenda, meeting minutes are kept, there are rules, such as Respect Self and Others, and there are consequences when the rules are broken. The book also addresses potential concerns a parent may have about their ability to hold such meetings and their confidence about whether their child/ren can successfully participate. Step-by-step direction, encouragement, and understanding are offered throughout the book. Parents are even given suggestions for responding to non-participation, non-compliance, and “other strategies for success”. Families need guidance and in our new world of gadgets and technology, “family time around the table” has all but faded into the past. This book offers a solution and walks the parent gently through the process. I will definitely be recommending this book to my families.

Colleen Marie Cavanagh, MS, LCSW
ww.colleenmcavanagh.com from Amazon.com

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HOLD A FAMILY MEETING THIS WEEKEND

A formal family meeting is a regularly scheduled meeting for the purpose of attending to family business, with rules, an agenda, and a decision-making process. Here are quick tips for running a successful one:

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The best place to start if you have not been holding regular family meetings is to start with some Family Fun Meetings.   Plan one for the coming weekend, label it a Family Fun Event; then spend a few minutes deciding on next week’s Family Fun Event. Do not, however,  forget to also plan your me-time.

For more tips my  How To Hold Successful Family Meetings is now available in print.  Starting Friday, June 21st, however, it is free as an eBook. See the sidebar.  Offer ends  midnight of  Tuesday, June 25th.

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If you buy it, please share a review.  And yes, there are lots of other resources about family meetings on the web, some free.  I think mine combines the best of knowledge from clinical and business gurus, but also in-the-trench parents including the many  wonderful parent advocates I worked with.

STAY STRONG

As I tell myself a thousand times a day,  do not weaken, give lots of love to others and to yourself, be grateful, practice kindness, laugh and play,  live now, give and seek forgiveness, and always hope  the blessing of the forces beyond our control are with you and those you love.

Katherine

DISCLAIMER: FORGIVE MY GRAMMATICAL ERRORS FOR I HAVE DYSGRAPHIA.  If you need perfect posts, you will not find them here. I have dysgraphia which means that sometimes my sentence structure is not that easy to follow or I make other errors. Still, most people understand me. All of my books are professionally edited, but not all of my blog posts are.  If this troubles you, feel free to read elsewhere.  If you persevere, you are practicing kindness by lifting my spirits for that means you find what I say helpful and that is one of my missions. Kindness always repays those who spread it.

CONFESSIONS AND APOLOGIES

Confession eases guilt; apologies mend relationships. One should follow the other. Good enough parents do both. Easy for some, not for many.

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In a  Ted talk,  Rita Pierson, talks about making every child feel like a champion. But she shines brightest to me when she talks about apologizing to her students. Here is what she says:

I taught a lesson once on ratios. I’m not real good with math, but I was working on it. And I got back and looked at that teacher edition. I’d taught the whole lesson wrong.

So I came back to class the next day, and I said, “Look, guys, I need to apologize. I taught the whole lesson wrong. I’m so sorry.”

They said, “That’s okay, Ms. Pierson. You were so excited, we just let you go.” 

I had a high school teacher apologize to me once.  He was the only teacher to be that strong.  He was directing the Junior Play.  I had a small part and at dress rehearsal flubbed my lines. He lit into me. I was embarrassed, but also knew I hadn’t studied my few lines enough. His yelling motivated me.  No big damage done.  Nevertheless, when he sought me out later and apologized he won my heart forever.  He remains a star in my mind.

As I search my memories, I think he is actually the only adult who ever offered me an apology for behaving badly. My father came close when he was battling the cancer that took his life.

“I wish I had spent more time with my children as a father.”

Not quite an apology, but powerful words, that let me say in return, “That would have been nice, but the time you did spend with us was precious.”

My words seemed to comfort him.

My mother, who had a bit more to apologize for, never did.  The closest to an apology was the sense following her death that her spirit hovered around me asking me to forgive her shortcomings.  Now the Freudian minded shrinks would say that was wishful thinking on my part. Perhaps, but it mended our relationship and was one of the experiences making me in  after life connections  we do not understand.

Why when apologies are so powerful, do so many of us find it hard to say, “i’m sorry.” 

The answer: we are afraid of being seen as flawed, weak, and  less than perfect.  We must confess to ourselves that we have done wrong. Knowing we have done wrong hurts and admitting  so  hurts and we humans are programmed to avoid hurt.   Sad and not just for us, but for our children. 

PARENTing ADVICE ABOUT APOLOGIZING

To be effective an apology must be sincere, should state what you did wrong,  and should offer no explanations or excuses.  Even adding “that I spoke out of  hunger” decreases the effectiveness of an apology.

Making a sincere apology is easiest when you know you blew it and were totally in the wrong.  Stating what you did wrong, and then adding “I am sorry.” is all that is needed in such situations.  Three quick examples:

  •  I broke my promise to be home on time and here I am late.  I am sorry.
  • I yelled at you without hearing your side of the story; that was wrong, I am sorry.
  • I forgot to wash your favorite shirt, I am sorry.

Gets a bit more complicated in some situations with children.  You are responsible for teaching acceptable behavior and that means feelings will be hurt.  But it really isn’t as hard as you think.  Again keeping it simple works:

  • I see that hurt, I am sorry. 
  • I’m sorry what I said upset you.
  • I’m sorry.

The younger the child, the easier such apologies are accepted.  As your children age, you might meet with some back talk, sulking, or walks away angrily,  worry not.

Ignore sulking or walking away.  Listen to the back talk and occasionally repeat, the words “I’m sorry”  Once  the venting has died down, go on with your life as if the event is over and done with, for it should be.

STAY STRONG

My book How to Hold a Successful Family Meeting will be a free down load from June 21 through June 27th.  Apologizing and making amends would be a good topic for such a meeting.

Meanwhile, thank you for all you do, keeping caring and sharing, it makes a difference.

Katherine

DISCLAIMER: FORGIVE MY GRAMMATICAL ERRORS FOR I HAVE DYSGRAPHIA.  If you need perfect posts, you will not find them here. I have dysgraphia which means that sometimes my sentence structure is not that easy to follow or I make other errors. Still, most people understand me. All of my books are professionally edited, but not all of my blog posts are.  If this troubles you, feel free to read elsewhere.  If you persevere, you are practicing kindness by lifting my spirits for that means you find what I say helpful and that is one of my missions. Kindness always repays those who spread it.

FIVE REASONS TO HOLD FAMILY MEETINGS

Hate meetings?  Then you probably go to  many meetings that are poorly run.  Not helpful.  Family meetings, properly run, are major parenting tools. 
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A formal family meeting is a regularly scheduled meeting for the purpose of attending to family business, with rules, an agenda, and a decision-making process.   Most experts agree successful family meetings are one of the more useful tools for raising competent, coopertive, and confident children.  Here are five reasons to start holding such meetings now.

Reason one: Family meetings save time. Instead of one-by-one announcements regarding schedules, rule up dates  news, all the family gets the same message at the same time.

Reason two: Family meetings teach important life skills including  how to deal with attending meetings in general, how to take turns, listen, communicate, and problem solve.

Reason three: Family meetings improve cooperation. Children are more likely to cooperate when included in the problem solving process.

Reason four: Family meetings create stronger family bonds particularly when a fun event is part of the meeting.

Reason five: Family meetings provide parents with the opportunity to model respect for self and others, as well as to enforce values.

But only if the meetings are successful. So here is my gift to you.  My eBook, How to Hold a Successful Family Meeting will be available for this coming week. Mark your calendars,  and see the side bar for details.

STAY STRONG

If you do not hold regular family meetings, start with getting the family together to plan a fun event.

As I tell myself a thousand times a day,  do not weaken, hug your chilren, smile more than you frown, laugh as often as you can, forgive when laughter is not possible, be grateful, and always hope  the blessing of the forces beyond our control are with you and those you love.

Katherine

DISCLAIMER: FORGIVE MY GRAMMATICAL ERRORS FOR I HAVE DYSGRAPHIA.  If you need perfect posts, you will not find them here. I have dysgraphia which means that sometimes my sentence structure is not that easy to follow or I make other errors. Still, most people understand me. All of my books are professionally edited, but not all of my blog posts are.  If this troubles you, feel free to read elsewhere.  If you persevere, you are practicing kindness by lifting my spirits for that means you find what I say helpful and that is one of my missions. Kindness always repays those who spread it.