Why family meetings should be a big deal!
Family meetings can feel like a waste of time and annoying sometimes. But man do they make a big difference in a lot of aspects in your home. They have made a big difference in our home when we have used them. We sometimes get out of the habit and we definitely feel the difference.
Let’s jump right in.
At family meeting we let everyone have a turn to voice their opinions about the topic that is being covered for the day. Example: If we have a topic where we are discussing what we are going to be doing for a family activity sometime that week, everyone gets to voice what they would like to do and they also get to vote on the option they like the best after everyone has given their ideas.
At our home, we have a sheet of paper that lists topics they would like to cover, and we can pick topics off of that list. If we are the ones always choosing the family meeting topics, the youth will never feel like they have a voice in anything that we do.
Reason #2 – Teaches How to Communicate Needs/Wants
Since everyone gets a turn to voice their opinions at every family meeting, this gives the youth in our home lots of practice with communicating the things they want or the things they need depending on the topic we are covering for family meeting that week.
It is important to use this opportunity to teach this skill and help mold it as you go so they can learn how to communicate their ideas, feelings, wants, etc. appropriately.
Reason #3 – Teaches How to Listen to Others
Let’s just be honest here! Most kids do not take the time to listen to anyone’s ideas or concerns but their own. This is an excellent time to work on doing just that. Because everyone in the home gets the opportunity to talk and voice their opinions, everyone has to be respectful and listen.
Sometimes you will need to help them learn this. Remind them that they like it when others listen when it is their turn to talk, and so they need to listen when others are talking. This also may mean that they actually give someone else’s idea a chance. I know our 9 year old always wants to play football, but not everyone wants to do that. He has to learn to give other people a chance to do what they want to do, and everyone else needs to listen to his idea of doing football every once in a while as well.
Reason #4 – How to Bring up Concerns
Sometimes our youth want to have an all out WWE event over something they don’g agree with. Of course this is not always the case. Some are okay to just avoid you and sit in their rooms for the rest of their lives instead!
Family meetings are a great way to teach them that they can bring a concern up to us or the family and then have a civilized discussion about whatever it is. Family meetings can help them get their ideas out to the whole family who can voice their opinions on the issue, and someone might bring up something you’ve never even considered before that changes your view about it altogether.
This can be a great place to bring up concerns that you may have as well. Role modeling how to bring up concerns with them appropriately is a great use of family meeting time.
Reason #5 – Teaches Mutual Understanding
Last, but definitely not least is teaching that in our home there can be an atmosphere of mutual understanding between you and your foster youth. Why wouldn’t you want that? Family meetings are quick and usually non confrontational. Everyone gets to voice their opinion, concern, or feelings about the topic and they aren’t attached to how you feel about a specific person.
Family meetings can help everyone get their voice heard and you can both at least agree to disagree in the end.
We hope this has helped you understand why we think Family Meetings can be so vital to having a functional foster home. We love using them in our home and we hope you will too!
Until next time!