Tips For Effective Family Meetings and Why You Need It
The functional family is the closest-knit relationship that you can have and run to always when the need arises. And research has shown that a family that organizes family meetings does stand stronger than those that don’t.
So many families may not see the need for family meetings, but if only they understand that it is a bond strengthener, and a way to pivot the family to greater heights.
As one who intends to create this special bond in your household, you may say to yourself – What do we discuss in these family meetings? How can I get everyone to get on board? Some family meetings end up in quarrels, so how do I prevent all these?
Well, it is a good decision that you have acknowledged that you need to have these family meetings, and this article would guide you just as mother nature guides us, to make the best of your family meetings.
What Is A Family Meeting?
There is no way to discuss family meetings, without talking about what it truly means.
In simple terms, family meetings are structured discussions that help the family stay together in love and harmony. As can be seen from the definition, it is not location bound. That is to say, it could be a physical or online discussion.
But as much as it is not location-bound, family meetings would have a better effect, “if the meetings are majorly physical”. And this is because it is a well-known fact that humans bond better when they are close (read more).
Why You Need Family Meetings
According to various research studies, there are various reasons why family meetings are usually encouraged.
And some of those key reasons are:
It stops your children from being bullies
In some families, children hit, push and slap each other. And this is not because they intend to, but it is because that is the only way they understand to express their displeasure at someone or something.
When family meetings are organized, they can improve their character. In these meetings, you can teach them to express their displeasure without getting physical and help them learn to apologize to each other whenever such a thing happens.
Mind you, this is a gradual process, but with consistency and determination, you can achieve better ways of communicating as a family.
Also read: How To Foster Honesty In A Relationship And Why It Is Important
Furthermore, if your children can undergo such character refinement, they will also have better relationships and communication with their classmates.
It helps tackle depression
Every person requires a safe space to express how they are feeling and what they require, and to receive encouragement from others. And the majority of these can be achieved in family meetings.
And mind you, research also shows that depression contributes to the top 1% of suicide cases in the world. Hence, a 10- to a 30-second family meeting would be a better option.
It reduces killings
Do you know that in the United States, two male partners, three female partners, and three children die daily at the hands of family members?
And the investigation into this homicide case reveals a breakdown in communication among family members. Such a scenario could have been avoided if effective family meetings had been held.
It ameliorates the abuse of children by adults
A popular school of thought holds that abused people abuse people, tormented people torment people, and cared-for people care for people.
With the buildup of events, it is obvious that children who come from homes where communication and love are tossed out the door end up badly.
And when these children grow up, they will end up hurting and abusing children, and if possible, their romantic partners. So now you have seen the benefits of family meetings.
Who Needs Family Meetings
This question is one that comes to the heart of anyone who truly desires to create a better bond among their families.
Also read: 29 Bond-Strengthening Father-Daughter Activities
A common misconception people have is that family meetings are for a select few. But that is not true.
As a couple, it is key that you and your partner plan your family meetings. This cannot be neglected at all.
You may ask why you need family meetings with your partner, right? It may interest you to know that, aside from being a couple, you and your partner were first and foremost individuals. And prior to being with you, they had goals, traits, and a lifestyle that you would need to learn to live with every day.
And when you fail to understand them, issues may arise, which they may spill or bottle up. But when you both plan family meetings, it creates an avenue for each one to open up, thereby strengthening the relationship.
In a family with both parents and children, family meetings are necessary to foster understanding and bonding between the children and parents.
Especially in a family where there are teenagers, family meetings would go a long way toward helping create a sense of deep bonding and love among everyone.
In addition, most parents are usually confused over what age to start family meetings with their children. According to cognitive studies, children as young as four years old can participate in family meetings.
This helps create a good foundation for their growth and also helps them understand that they do have a voice in society. And with this mindset, they would not be afraid to speak up when the need arises.
A stepfamily is a great way to provide the love a partner once provided for the family. However, as much as it is a good cause, it is not always fully accepted by the children and possibly other family members at the outset.
And this is where both families would need to organize family meetings to help them understand each other, pour out their concerns, and strengthen the new bond.
Furthermore, if there are kids in the biological or stepfamilies, this would be a good time to assure them that you are not competing for the space their biological parent left, but you intend to provide them with as much love and care that would shield them in a world like ours.
How to Have An Effective Family Meeting
Before you can have an effective family meeting, you should, first of all, ensure that every member of the family is in agreement with having family meetings. And when this is achieved, you can make use of this guide to have effective family meetings.
Ensure you stick to time
Time is of the essence to everyone, and this is why you should ensure that family meetings start and end at the agreed time.
Prior to scheduling the family meetings, it is recommended that you contact all parties involved to determine the best time for everyone.
Also read: Time Management Hacks For Stay At Home Moms
This would help create a sense of respect for them and their time, and it also helps them create time out of their busy day.
After a particular time and maybe day have been agreed upon, you should also ensure that everyone sets a reminder for that particular time and encourage them to reach out on time if an urgent matter deserves that same time.
All hands should be in gloves at the family meetings
The essence of family is to be there for each other. And this can only be achieved when every member of the family is allowed to play a part in the family.
In family meetings, there would be a need for a speaker, a moderator, a secretary, and other duties you may think of. And depending on the parties involved, it is advisable that you assign a duty to everyone in a rotating fashion.
This would help create a sense of responsibility and belonging within the family. Furthermore, if at any point you feel an individual is not getting the role right, you can merge them with one who does it well so that they can learn better.
Encourage everyone to speak without fear or favor
Why organize family meetings in the first place if the individuals involved would be scared to speak? This is one aspect that needs to be ruled out in effective family meetings.
Nonetheless, encouraging everyone to speak up requires teaching them not to cross the line by disrespecting others or using offensive language.
Thoroughly discuss one topic before moving to another
Can you imagine jumping out of a moving vehicle? It looks and sounds crazy, right?
That is the impression you would give if you allowed people to jump from one discussion to the next without coming to a conclusion.
Exceptions can only be given when the next discussion is urgent and time is against all.
Nevertheless, in such a situation, you can decide to start all family meetings with pressing discussions before moving to the net.
Discourage blame games
In a court of law, no one is guilty except when proven guilty. And this same standard should be applied at family meetings.
If anyone feels that they have been marginalized or have a dispute with another member of the family, they should state their grievances without pointing fingers.
For example, they could say, “I feel sad that this person treated me this way, and I don’t know why they did.”
This way, the other party would easily come to the realization that their action hurt you without trying to play a defense card.
A consensus should define the close of a discussion
In family meetings, all discussions that require people’s opinions should close with a consensus. It is very vital that all parties are in agreement, without a different opinion. This way, there would be no need to bring up the subject again.
All agreements should be on paper
As much as family meetings comprise members of the family, it is also advisable that all agreements be documented on paper. This would serve as a binding agreement for all and help control cases where anyone would want to act contrary to what was agreed upon.
Take breaks after major discussions
Sometimes in the family meeting, some members of the family may be blowing hot, and at such a point, it would be nice for everyone to take a break and cool off. You could term this as a water or tea break, and set a time for everyone to reconvene.
This way, you would be controlling a lot of damage that may occur if a break is not taken.
Further, to make things easier, try to write down the agenda of every discussion so that you can structure the break at points you think may get heated.
Have fun at the end of the family meetings
“All work and no play will make Jack a dull boy.” To paraphrase, all talk and no play would cause everyone to leave family gatherings feeling disconnected.
As a rule of thumb, no matter how short the time, always add a fun activity at the end of every meeting. It could be seeing an agreed-upon movie, playing board games such as chess, spelling competitions, etc.
With this, everyone gets to bond after a long discussion, and then they would look forward to having the meetings again. For family members who joined the meeting online, you could look for an online game that they can partake in. Take, for example, Kahoot.
Final Thoughts On Family Meetings
In this article, you have seen why you need family meetings, individuals who need family meetings, how to go about organizing one, etc.
With such information at your disposal, you can now make the most of your family by creating an inclusive environment for all and a space for better family bonding.
In summary, the essence of family meetings is to make the family better. However, as the family grows and time passes, you can evaluate and adjust some previous decisions.
Furthermore, this article is not one you should read and keep to yourself. And this is because it can help mend so many families and indirectly make the environment better and safer for all.
So, all you have to do now is share this article with every family member and friend who comes to mind!