Today’s word is : Discuss
Do you ever have family meetings?
In our house, we homeschool – so we often sit around the table and chat, but often our best discussions happen when everyone is sitting in the van, strapped in and unable to get away! We have had conversations about everything from the silly to the serious. It’s amazing to listen to the kids because they have such insight into topics.
When I was a kid, we had family meetings. My mom had a special notebook that she wrote down our ideas and suggestions, topics we wanted to cover at our next meeting and other facts. I remember once that we ended up talking about our youngest sibling and how we, (as obviously much older and wiser children) didn’t feel his bedtime was fair. We thought he should be allowed to stay up for an extra 30 minutes. As a family, we discussed the idea, presented our case, and had a vote. It was something I will remember because, for us as kids – it allowed us to offer input into something and to know that our voices were heard. (For the record, he ended up getting an extra 30 minutes extra at bedtime!).
Using a program like Me In a Tree can be a great tool for helping you work through a family meeting together. With prompts and discussion starters – it’s a fun program to use for family time.
But you don’t need to have a special program to talk with your kids. Cover big topics like current events, controversial issues, faith and beliefs, family challenges and struggles but don’t forget the little things too – what is going on in their lives, what they are passionate about, what they are learning and anything else that is special to them.
Although it can be hard, try to make sure you don’t respond with judgement or anger if a topic comes up that makes you want to react in such a way. You want your child (no matter what age/stage they are at) to know that you will always be open and available to talk to when needed.
Make sure you take turns listening and talking. It’s far too tempting to talk more than listen as an adult. Give your kids a chance to be the leader/facilitator. Make sure other kids know they can’t interrupt or talk over the person currently talking. This is a great chance to learn politeness and taking turns.
Have you ever tried family meetings before? What has worked or not worked for you? Where do you find your best discussions happen with your kids?
Lisa Marie Fletcher