Have a Family Meeting
Knowing how to communicate effectively and solving interpersonal conflicts are important skills for anyone. They help build assertiveness and resilience, strengthen self-regulation, and establish strong and respectful relationships with others.
Effective communication helps kids learn to also share their feelings, opinions, and ideas while also respecting and listening to others, cooperating, negotiating, and problem solving. They also learn that conflicts can be dealt with effectively without force, aggression, blame, or upset.
Teaching and modelling effective communication all starts at home and there is no better way than having family meetings. Family meetings can be used to discuss any issue and helps everyone work collaboratively (and respectfully) through a disagreement. Of course, disagreements can be settled at any time but sometimes deferring an argument to a scheduled family meeting (even for a few days) can help everyone burn off some steam and come to the meeting with a rational mind.
First, ensure everyone is calm during these meetings so that kids can listen and learn. If anyone is upset, little progress will be made.
Even better – make the family meetings fun, like having a snack and finishing the meeting with a fun game. Don’t always bring problems to the family meeting so they don’t become thought of as a nagging session.
At my house, we have regular family meetings once a week. We always start our meetings by debriefing the best part of our week. The kids actually look forward to the meeting because problems they may have actually get sorted and the meeting always ends on a positive note.
Below are the general steps of the family meeting process you can follow. A visual can help everyone remember the process and stay on track with communicating effectively. Feel free to print off these steps for future reference.
Move to #15: Delay Gratification