Remember your family meetings!
Make your family meetings a high priority! Family meetings are at the core of our Teaching Self-Government style of parenting because they:
- Unify the family
- Promote ownership of relationship bonds by each member of the family
- Set a precedent for calm discussion of family problems
- Promote accountability to the group and the Lord
- Remind the family that the family unit is more important than individual desires
- Create a meaningful tradition if done well
- Help the family be more deliberate and less emotional in their communications
- Maintain the family focus
- And are a lot of fun
- The whole family will also stay focused on their family government structure and enjoy more consistency in parenting interactions.
See what happens when you miss a few weeks of meetings, the lack of family focus and lack of unity are noticeable. In my home it's especially noticeable with Dad. He has less patience and focus as a parent when we miss our family meetings. Everyone stays more invested in family life when regular meetings are held.
At family meetings, every family member has equal voice on family issues. However, parents are still in charge of the home. Children don’t get to take control of the family. It’s not “Animal Farm.” Rather, it’s more like a board meeting. Each person has his or her position, but all come together to make sure that the group is running smoothly.
9 Family Meeting Rules
1. Prepare for and take notes during family meetings in a notebook or journal. We recommend using Teaching Self-Government's Family Meeting Journal.
2. Never give negative consequences during a meeting. Simply say, “[NAME OF CHILD], you'll need to stay after the meeting to talk to me for a few minutes.” This will keep your meeting running smoothly and prevent it from being side tracked. If someone is completely out of control during the meeting, then the meeting might have to be postponed and resumed after calmness is achieved.
3. Do not use this time to lay down the law or lecture the family. That behavior ruins the unity.
4. Decide how long your meetings will go and stick to it! The official Peck family meetings last for 20 minutes. This is probably the best way to stop family fights. Anyone can last 20 minutes. Of course there are other unofficial family meetings and talks. A council can happen at any time. But, official ones are a good practice to have.
5. Make sure everyone takes a turn conducting meetings. This is great practice in self-government skills. This not only gives a feeling of unity to the family but also builds self esteem in the child.
6. When bringing up a topic, don’t point fingers. Work as a group. Never work against any one person. The family must feel united and safe in these meetings. The person at fault knows he/she did it anyway, so there's no need to draw negative attention to any one family member.
7. When suggesting a solution to a topic, teach the children that they also need to present a rationale for wanting that solution and a proposal for how to fix the family problem.
8. Teach proper voting skills and strive to be fair.
9. Lastly, keep a family meeting list o ideas to be discussed so that ideas for meetings are not forgotten when they are brought up days away from the scheduled family meeting.
Regular family meetings are vital for keeping your family happy and united. They increase communication, family productivity, help solve issues, put the family focus on the group, promote kindness and charity, and teach your children important life skills.
Our Family Meeting Journal is an integrated part of the Teaching Self-Government family system. Writing in the journal to prepare for and take notes during family meetings will help keep you on track to creating a more united family. Click here to order one for your family.