Ultimate Guide to Parenting Communication

How to Conduct a Family Meeting

If you're looking for a way to open up the lines of communication in your family, regular family meetings are a good place to start. Family meetings establish a safe and nonjudgmental place for family members to discuss problems and to make decisions, and they can bring a family closer together as you learn to work collectively and cooperatively.

The first step in setting up your family meetings is to figure out a time and day each week that everyone can get together. Establish a set length of time for your meetings as well, and stick to it -- this encourages your family to make the meeting a priority and shows that you value having this time together each and every week [source: Fetsch].

The important thing to remember in your family meetings is that all family members should be given an opportunity to talk and participate. Even the youngest members of your family should be involved in any decisions or discussions that take place. Setting some ground rules for your meetings is a good idea. Some good rules include having one person talk at a time, discussing one topic at a time and changing topics only when everyone agrees to do so [source: Zolten].

Creating an agenda for each family meeting helps your family focus and gets the conversation rolling. Post an "Agenda List" in a specified place in your house, and encourage family members to add topics or issues they would like to discuss at the meeting to the list throughout the week [source: Zolten]. Before you begin discussing the topics on the "Agenda List," start each meeting by highlighting the positive things that each family member did that week.

Family meetings are a good way to bring your family together, and they can really help foster open communication among family members. Read the next page to find out how to have those dreaded important talks with your kids.