Sunday, December 6, 2015

Family Meetings

family meetings, blended families, step family, step families, stepmom, step mom
Family meetings are important to have in a blended family/stepfamily. They really help with strengthening, communication, and family unity.  Family meetings also help encourage to problem solve issues, communicate better, help with decision making and help encourage one another and it really helps you learn how to cooperate with one another in the blended/step family.
How often should you have the meetings?
Each family is different and it’s really up to you. We did it once a month in the beginning, then we did it whenever we felt like we needed to have one.
At what age, should you start having the family meetings?
Children that are at least 6 years old and up. Children under 6 years old may have a hard time understanding everything.  But every family is different; if you think they are mature enough and can understand then go for it.  If you have a lot of children that are mixed ages, feel free to have the younger children in the room at the time of the meetings, but don’t expect them to give you their undivided attention or participate.
What do you go over during them?
You set up an agenda and then also have open discussion time where anyone can bring up anything they want.  Here’s how ours was set up:

1) Compliment one another.
  We went around the room and said one thing nice about the person on the left until everyone was done.
2) Discuss Agenda Items. Then we would go over the agenda and talk about anything that concerned us parents, whether it was going over the rules or a new rule we came up with.
3) Open discussion. Where we would have this stuffed animal and anyone that was holding the stuffed animal it was their turn to speak and only them, everyone else had to listen to what they had to say without interrupting them.  Then we would try to resolve it, meaning us parents or we would simply tell them we would have to get back to them with our answer that we had to discuss it some more before answering them. You can even brainstorm the issue or question and have others give possible solutions.
4) Events. Then we would talk about an upcoming event or vacation, we might even vote on 2 places to go.
5) House Rules. Go over any new rules if needed.
6) Fun Box. Then we would pick something out of our “fun” box for an activity that we are going to do with all of them the next day.  If you don’t know what a fun box is, there is a post on it within my blog explaining it more.
7) Prayer. At the end of every meeting, we would pray together as a family.
family meeting rules, blended family, stepmom, step mom, step family
Rules of the Family Meeting
You can make up rules for the meetings that everyone should follow, the ones we made up are above. You can make up your own or use the ones we did. Like I have stated before every family is different, it's up to you on what works best for your family.
General guidelines in order to have successful family meetings are:
  • Be consistent, have the family meetings scheduled in advanced on a calendar, so the kids know when they are coming up.
  • Always have an agenda of what you want to say. When going over the agenda take turns as parents to go over items that way all of the children know it’s coming from both of you, not just from one parent.
  • Try to end each meeting on a positive note somehow like doing some group activity or saying something funny to lighten the mood a little.
  • End family meetings with a short prayer.
  • Seek to understand first, then to be understood.  Try to repeat a child’s concern so you can understand it, just to make sure you heard them correctly. And it’s okay if you don’t have an answer to their issue, just tell them you will get back to them after you had some time to think and discuss it together meaning both parents.
  • Make sure to turn off any distractions during the meeting: for example: phones, TVs, computers, tablets or handheld games or toys so you have everyones undivided attention.
  • Another fun suggestion is to put up the agenda on a piece of paper on the fridge and let any of the kids write something they would like to talk about on there.
  • Maybe take turns being the leader of the meeting, that way it will get the kids more involved in the meetings.
  • Keep the meetings short as you can. I think a 30-45 minute is long enough especially when you have younger kids.
  • Another great suggestion is to have an anonymous box where issues or questions can go inside of it and the parents can answer them in case someone doesn’t want to bring something up themselves. This can take care of something that maybe one of the children feel like if they bring it up themselves they might be hated for it.
  • Make sure all children and both parents are present for the family meetings, don’t leave anyone out.
The overall thing with these family meetings is to come together and unite everyone as a family and bring everyone together.  Some children may have a negative reaction to the first meeting you have.  Teenagers will have a hard time with these meetings at first, but it will get easier as long as you are consistent with the meetings. Whatever you do, try to not let it be a bashing session and if someone has something mean to say, cut them off and tell them these meetings are not for hurting someone’s feelings.
The family meetings are going to go well the more you have them. If you don’t have anything to discuss, then cancel the meeting for that month. It’s really up to you on how often you need to have one.
Don’t forget these family meetings are supposed to bring you together more as a family if they do the opposite than there’s something wrong that you need to figure out what can be the problem and start over or just not have them anymore.  Only you know what works best for your family and what doesn’t.
Has anyone tried family meetings before? How successful were they? How often do you have them?

21 comments:

  1. I don't have a blended family, but I can see the benefit of having a family meeting with just my husband. Open and honest communication is key to any relationship!

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  2. I agree about family meetings. We do it when feel like we need to have one.

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  3. I was a step mother for a few years and I have to say your advice is right on the money. I wish I could say the situation didn't influence my decision to leave but it did--her father didn't set limits, her behavior was bratty and it didn't go well. Then again, she was 13-16. But it ws his responsibility to set those limits. Your advice would've been helpful then.

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  4. Sounds like a good tool for blended families.

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  5. Great suggestions that work for all family styles. Love the meeting guidelines. Communication is so important in families but also one of the most challenging aspects of parenting with everyone's busy schedules. Thanks for sharing.

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  6. i think every family - blended or otherwise - should be having these kinds of meetings every week....

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  7. To be honest, we never hold family meetings. I think it's a great idea, I should definitely start doing this.

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  8. Great advice. +1 to praying as a family :)

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  9. I don't have a blended family either but this is nice in keeping the bond between family. The world we live in today nothing else can be more appropriate

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  10. So good for clear cut times you need to talk to one another. We have had to have family meetings too.

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  11. We have had some meetings like these in the past though they do not always run smoothly. I love the tips you provide here.

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  12. We have had some meetings like these in the past though they do not always run smoothly. I love the tips you provide here.

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  13. Good advice! I think this is truly essential specially fro blended family.

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  14. The more I think about this kind of thing, the more it makes sense to have these meetings. Everyone has a chance to air anything of importance to them.

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  15. Having family meetings is a thought that never came to mind, but now that you mention it seems like a good idea. Maybe a bit more practical when our kids are a bit more older and independent and we're not spending as much time as a family together as we do now. Good points and suggestions in this post!

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  16. In the beginning of summer, we had a family meeting and made a "Summer Rules" board that we kept up all season. I think we should have them seasonly, now that my kiddos are all in school. We spend a ton of time together anyways, but the meetings could be a fun tradition to start!

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  17. We do family meetings once a month or twice, depending on the happenings of the family. We also have family dinner every single night and talk about things.. I think its really important! - Jeanine

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  18. I think when my kids get older and more activities this would be a great idea.

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  19. Really sage and helpful insights you have here. I dont come from a blended family myself, but these are still so helpful in my case as my husband is also my business partner. Thanks for this!

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  20. I think that is a great idea to do family meetings. I need to really think about doing this with my family.

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  21. Family Meeting is a great Idea and bonding to,by means of this you can talk more. Thanks for sharing.

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