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You Are Gonna Love This! How To Have A Successful Family Meeting

Family communication is so vital. One of the best ways that you could have good communication with your family is to know how to have a really effective family meeting. In this article, I'm going to be talking about how I used to destroy the family meetings that my parents tried to have when I was young. And how you can have that not happened to your family. But also some of the key principles for how to have an effective family meeting.


When I was young, my parents said that we were going to start having something called family councils. So, a family council was a time where we would get together as a family and we would discuss issues related to the family. Now, the problem with these family councils that they wanted to have is there really was not a set structure to them. 

There was certainly no time limit and we didn't know what was going to come next. Or if we would even ever have a voice. Now, the whole idea of the council was that every person in the family would have a voice but it definitely did not turn out that way. "Sorry, mam and dad." 

They know that we didn't have good councils. They tried to bless their hearts. And you know what? I think all of these still turned out pretty good even though the family councils were a little bit more like family fights. That's right. They were like family fights. And the main culprit of these family fights was me. I mean, maybe all my brothers would say they were the main culprit. But I really had an attitude problem in these family councils. I keep calling them meeting in my mind because our family has family meetings. So, from here on out, let's just call them family meetings. 

I had attitude problems about the family meetings. I knew what was going to his dad would call the family meeting to order and then mom would... He would turn the floor over to mom. And then mom would voice all of her grievances. And this could go on for quite some time. And she would talk about all of the things that people weren't doing or what they needed to be doing. And it just felt like a time where everyone was going to talk bad about us. And then we would sit there and have to say, "Okay, okay." But it wouldn't really be productive. 

We didn't feel like we had much of a voice. In fact, it felt more like a lecture the majority of the time. I know that's not how my parents wanted it to turn out. But for some reason, that became the habit. And no one was looking forward to our family council meetings. Those family meetings were supposed to be the first thing that we would do in the evening on say Monday night. And then we were supposed to have a family activity time that followed that. Maybe a spiritual lesson and then moving on to something fun like playing tennis as a family or something like that. 

Well, guess what? Every time just about that we started with that family meeting, quote, unquote family fight, we we're too burned out by the end of it to even think of having our family activity time. So, it ruined all of the fun plans. And I think as children, we got just a little bit disappointed, disillusioned maybe. Oh, that was funny. Somebody just knocked at the door and delivered me a new shipment of Family Meeting Journal. Right here as we're talking about family meetings. We'll talk about those in a minute and what to do with them and how to run the best family meeting. But I just wanted to finish my story and share with you that I was ruining those family meetings. 

I was pretending I was asleep rolling on the ground saying Snyder Marks and talking under my breathe about what other people would say. I threw off the feeling of the whole event. But I don't think I was the only one. Nobody knew how to have an effective family meeting. And if you don't make a plan for how to have your family meetings, then that good communication doesn't happen. You end up with family fights and can actually create more distance in your family relationships than unity. And isn't the point of it all unity? So, let's take a look at the Family Meeting Journals. I don't know if you can see that. 

The Teaching Self-Government program hinges around having a deliberate conversation with families. One of those main meetings that we have is the family meeting. You can see this journal has an outline for how to go through the meeting, how to vote on certain topics, and solve problems as a family. Here are some key rules to keep in mind for having a really great effective family meeting. Number 1, the meeting should not last any longer than 20 minutes. That's it. 

Unless you vote and the group decides with the majority that the meeting should go longer. If you have a time limit for the meeting, you will be much more efficient. And the talking that you have in the meeting will be more effective too. The children can sit for 20 minutes. The husband or the wife can sit for 20 minutes. But once it goes longer than that, people start feeling ill-used. So, keep your family meetings short. One thing that we do for our family meetings is we keep a time log at the top of the form, the family sheet form, we actually write the time we began and the time we ended so that we know when we are stuck in that 20-minute time period. 

Just one more self-government thing that we want to do, right? Because we're all about self-government in our family. Another rule for having an effective family meeting is we don't point fingers in the meeting. This means we don't say, "Billy never takes over his dish after dinner." We don't have to talk about what Billy does and what Billy doesn't do. This isn't the time for that. What we would say instead is we would say, "I've noticed our family seems to have a problem getting to take over their dishes after a meal. 

What can we do to fix this problem within our family?" So, that mealtime or meal clean-up time can be more pleasant. Does Billy know that he doesn't take his dish over? Probably. So, do we need to tell him? No. He'll fix it when he is held accountable and needs to fix it. But if he doesn't know, will he know the first time he's corrected for it? Yes. So, even still, we don't have to talk to Billy about it until it's actually the moment where he forgot to take the dish over. This is not pointing fingers. The third tip for an effective family meeting everyone is there.

The best meetings happen when everyone is present. The whole point of the meeting is to be united. That feeling of unity exists when everyone puts the meeting as the priority. Everyone can schedule 20 minutes in. And if somebody's out of town, they can call into the meeting too. There usually aren't many reasons why someone would have to miss. Unless you're calling an "Emergency Family Meeting" which occasionally happens. And maybe somebody happens not to be there at the time. The next tip for having an effective family meeting is it's not just about solving problems. This should be a time where the family rejoices together about things they've done. 

Maybe they tell the good news of the week. But the family should also be doing the family schedule so the family stays more organized. They could talk about projects that they want to take on as a family. Or other families or people in their area that they might want to serve and help out. There are so many different things that we can discuss in the family meeting. Let's not keep it just negatively focused. 

Another secret to making o really effective family meeting is that decisions made in the family meeting don't have to revolve around negative consequences. In fact, sometimes, a family can work toward a positive consequence. So, our family struggled many times with not getting up on time. It was much more effective for our family to set a positive consequence goal or a motivation, you might want to call it, for everyone getting up on time for a week than just focusing on the negative. 

Now, if someone doesn't want to wake up on time, are we going to correct that? And would they probably earn an extra chore in our family? Yes. But the biggest motivator is on Friday, we were all going to get ice cream if our family could wake up on time every day that week. I know, everyone has little struggles. But that's one that the Peck family is had multiple times. Another thing that families need to keep in mind with making their family meetings effective is that everyone does need to have a voice. So, we have voted as part of our family system. 

Now, parents are the final say. So, if the family votes, "Oh, for our family activity this week, let's go to Disney Land" and they live in Ohio, that's not necessarily going to be feasible, right? Maybe not financially, maybe not logistically. Parents would say, "I'm glad that everyone wants to go to Disney Land. That sounds fun. But we would need to plan for that and save for that. And that's something that can't be decided to happen this week. 

So, we'll need to come up with something else." The parents can be veto things like that if they need to if they go against their morals. Or are logistically impossible. But by at large, we want the children to make decisions. We want them to vote. And so, in our family meeting form, there's a section where we keep track of the votes and when they vote, then they take ownership over the decision that was made. 

Sometimes they'll vote for a negative consequence that is much harsher than what the parents may even suggest. Because they feel like that's what needs to happen. And then you know what? They'll stand by it. Because they're part of that decision. Even the youngest children can make a vote. Now, I know some families say, "Well, I've got 11 kids. Or I have 7 children. 

There's no way that I'm going to ever have anything go in my way." That's not true. Plus you're going to be checking out each week on how you're family decisions from the previous week have worked out. And if they don't seem to be working out then you have to come back to the drawing table and talk about them again. Our family loves family meetings. In fact, they are some of our favorite times of the week where we just talk candidly with each other about things. Everyone gets the chance to lead. Even the youngest child can learn to lead a family meeting with an older person's help. 

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