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How To Have Family Meetings That Move!
The Family Meeting is a deep and rich strategy that will help you stay on your parenting road map to success. The purpose of the weekly family meeting is to show appreciation; teach cooperation; distribute household contributions; express concerns, identify problems and teach problem solving; and hand out pocket money.
Each week, the family meeting consists of four components that are covered in 20 minutes or less:
- Problem Solving
Appreciations are an opportunity for us to acknowledge and appreciate and express our gratitude for the people we live with every day for the ways they contribute to our lives in positive ways.
Every meeting starts with appreciations that:
- set the tone for the meeting
- teach people how to give and receive compliments
- show family members how their individual character traits and contributions positively affect the family
- Allow our children to practice looking for the best in others.
Children will eventually have to learn how to manage their own households, so we might as well invite them from the earliest ages to contribute to ours, and take time for training. That way, when they’re 13, we’re not all screaming about, “Go do your own laundry!” and no one ever showed them where the washing machine was. The contribution part of the Family Meeting is a place for us to start making agreements about daily tasks so that children and parents can stop fighting all the time and parents are not nagging and reminding.
The best way for your children to get into the habit of contributions and how to manage time is to have one in the morning and one in the afternoon. The key is regularity and that it is done every day.
Go through steps when teaching new skills. Be encouraging and supportive, and look for improvement and progress – not perfection.
Parents often find themselves in the role of judge and jury. The kids come up to them all day long saying things like, “Mommy, so and so did that to me!” “Well, what did you tell them?” “Okay, well, you’re going to have to…” Five minutes later, she put that fire out and some other kid says, “Mom, I don’t like it when…” “Okay, well. how do we solve this?” And after solving problems all day, the next day all those same problems come up again because nobody can remember what the solutions were, nobody really agreed to follow the solutions, so we find ourselves in this catch-22. This is the opportunity for your family to become a confident and competent problem solver.
I suggest parents put a big piece of paper on a wall and at the top of the paper they say, “I have a problem when…” And the bottom of that paper, it says, “No name. , no blame.”
Tip – Make sure the children learn to write their problem in one sentence without a name attached. This will help filter out the emotion and drama of their problem by removing the “details”.
Tip – If you have small children who can’t write yet, give them a stack of magazines and scissors and have them cut out a picture of their problem. If you agree to write down their problem for them – you will always be careful to write down their problems.
- Solve 1 problem per meeting
- If it’s a problem for one person, it’s a problem for the family
- Everyone contributes a solution, no one comments on the solution
- Encourage your children to come up with the best solutions; parents can provide solutions but they MUST BE BAD! As parents, we’re pretty good at coming up with solutions, so we don’t need practice
- The individual with the problem chooses the solution they would like to try for 1 week
- Vote by consensus
We give our children pocket money to teach them: Save it, Spend it or Give it away
- An attachment is not linked to behavior, grades, contributions or anything else. It is an opportunity for our children to develop a healthy relationship with money while they are young!
- Give pocket money only when you have finished the whole family gathering.
- Each child who attends the meeting receives an allowance of dollars equal to his age in years. For example, a three-year-old child receives $3. A six-year-old gets $6.
- At age 12, children are responsible for more of their purchases. A donation is cut in half.
- At the age of 14, the purchases that children are responsible for are increased and most children can work at this age, so the pocket money disappears.
- Once the money passes from your hands to the child’s hands, it is no longer your business.
- Allow your children to forget their money, lose their money, give it to their siblings or something else.
- Do not remind children to bring their money and do not lend them money
- Allow your children to develop their own relationship with money through trial and error. This is about LEARNING.
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