If you’re like many of us struggling to tackle family issues and balance family activities with a hectic schedule, it’s never too late to learn how family meetings can lend a powerful hand in improving family communication. By following a few key steps, you can avoid some common mistakes in communication between you and your children and make it a more rewarding and positive experience for all of you.
Here are some examples of what works in family communication and what doesn’t:
Avoid keeping quiet about something that is bothering or angering you and sit down with your family to talk the issue through. Waiting till your emotions explode only leads to miscommunication, anger and resentment.
Do make allotted times weekly to sit down and discuss any issues that need to be addressed. Share goals among all family members as to how and what should be discussed. Include everyone in the process so all feel as if their voices are being heard.
Don’t use bickering and verbal insults to drive your point. You will only create an obstacle before the issue can be properly addressed.
Give each family member equal time to speak without interruption.
Promote each meeting to be flexible and informal to create a comfort zone.
Remove criticism from the process and focus on positive reinforcement instead. Get each issue out in the open and encourage discussion.
Though not part of the actual meeting, make time for family activities at the end of the week for positive closure.
If the planning fails and you find that your family meetings are nothing but glorified sparring matches, consider moving your meetings to a more laid back, fun and engaging environment to remove some of the pressure.
There is no perfect formula for quality family communication, but with a plan and equal partnership among all members you can focus on creating an inclusive process for solving family issues that hopefully everyone will feel comfortable with. The end goal should be compromise and a culture of sharing that both you and your children can turn into effective family meetings.