Family Meetings

When my children were younger, I read a few of the Positive Discipline books by Dr. Jane Nelson.  Intrigued by her methodology, I wanted to implement some of her suggestions into my parenting repertoire.  So, we devoted some time on a weekend night when we could all be together, and began to hold weekly family meetings.

That look I get when I Announce a family meeting! - Cindy Brady Meme | Make  a Meme

We would begin each meeting by giving each other a compliment or thanking someone for doing something special for us.  I really wish I had written these down, but as I remember they went something like this:

“Thank you for doing my laundry.”  

“Thank you for driving me to dance.”

“I can’t think of anything nice to say about my brother. He just teases me.”

“I know you can think of one thing that your brother did well this week that you noticed.”

 “Okay, you are good at teasing me.”

Then we would transition to issue discussion time.  Anyone could add an item to the agenda. As a family, we would talk about ways to work together better and collaboratively solve any difficulties we were having.  We would also plan our menu for the week ahead. 

We would end our meeting with a special dessert or family game time.  

One part of the process was that a person had to take notes during the meeting and it couldn’t be the same person each time. It is these notes that I cherish now.

March 28, 2004

Behavior and Consequences

Dressed in the morning before TV

Bedtime 7:30

Kids want a dog- We are too busy to take care of a dog.

April 4, 2004

Mornings going better- Need to remember to put out our clothes before bed

Caitlin would like a chart telling her everything she needs to do before bed.

Manners- Please remember to use our manners with each other.

Listen to each other better the first time we ask

Dog- We are too busy to take care of a dog.

April 12, 2004*

Next meeting: family job assignments

Dog

*My husband’s version of note taking.

January 19, 2005

Family Jobs

Tantrums- We will all try to stop.  Consequence for a tantrum is to go to our room to cool down.  

Friday nights new family night with dinner and a movie.

Dog- We are too busy to take care of a dog.

For years I wondered if the family meetings had any significance to the way our family functioned. I am not sure if they made us a better family unit. But, I would say that there were many positives that came out of our time together. 

  1. We learned to communicate more effectively with one another.
  2. As a family, we problem solved issues.
  3. My husband and I still meet weekly to plan our menu.
  4. Caitlin still uses lists to tell her everything she needs to do before bed.
  5. We finally got a dog… once the kids grew up and my husband and I were no longer too busy taking care of them.

Have you ever tried family meetings with your children?  Do you plan meals together?  Do your kids ask you for a pet too?

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12 replies »

  1. What a wonderful retelling of your family meeting experience! It sounds like it was an enriching experience for you all; and as a lot of things with family life, worth having done for the stories, if nothing else! I love that you included notes from meetings!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I want to live in this house! Things just would have made more sense to me, growing up, if I’d lived in a house like this. Amazing!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. We had family meetings of sorts, but not as regularly as yours, Julie. What a great idea. Our meetings came together as a result of my frustration of not being able to do as much as I had taken on with working full time. We tried to set up a schedule to share the duties. This would work for a while. I have to admit I was too fussy with the house and my standards weren’t theirs. I wish I could go back and do things differently. What a great way to communicate with your family and I know this carries on in your life now. Love your blogs!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I loved our family meetings, even if it did take 10+ years to get a family dog! Thanks for all you have done and continue to do for Ryan and me. I promise I have a whole list of nice things I can share about my brother now!! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It was perfect that you placed a Brady Bunch reference photo with your post. It just felt like the Brady Bunch. And that is a compliment because they were a fun family! I had fun reading this. And I love love love that your daughter filled us in on a question I had, what did your kids think of those family meetings?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. OMG I am right back at our Friday and Sunday night meetings. Friday we made pizza and watched a movie that one assigned person picked out. Sunday was game time, meal planning for week, and general discussion of plans for week. We had charts of who sat where at the table, car, church and the like. Sounds rather OCD and my thirty something kids laugh at it but also say they appreciated the order it created!
    Thanks for the memories. Wish we had notes too!

    Liked by 1 person

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