Oyez, Oyez. In the name of good communication and solid family bonding, I respectfully call upon all families to begin holding weekly family meetings.
Remember when your dad used to call up the stairs and tell everyone to come down to the kitchen for a family meeting? No? Me neither. Maybe that was just on Full House but I certainly agree with Danny Tanner, so much so that I’ve added a new Family Meeting Service to my Family Coaching practice.
To put it plainly, I think we’ve all just plumb forgot how to communicate with each other. There’s no doubt that all the iPads, iPhones, and iPods have led to an I, I, I world ~ a me centered family dynamic. Even so, when I walk into my clients’ homes and lead a Family Meeting I see a lot of love, a lot of genuine concern, a lot of fear and frustration but very little communication. We must start talking to each other again! Parents will confide in me and express concern for the fact that they don’t know what their child is thinking or how they are feeling about a school situation or even a traumatic family event. I will ask them in return, “Have you asked them how they feel?” Nine times out of ten, the answer is “No” or “Well, even if I asked, he wouldn’t really tell me what’s going on.” We must get out of our defeatist rut and start getting into the nitty gritty of our family’s lives.
During a recently held Family Meeting, we laid out the relevant family rules and created a uniformed schedule. Then I opened up the floor to each member of the family. Instead of talking to each other, however, they were talking about each other. Turns out this dynamic had been going on for years. Each member of the family just sort of forgot how to talk to one another. Getting those lines of communication rewired is the key to understanding each family member’s needs, and when those lines of communication were finally opened each person felt heard and loved.
This weekend I encourage each of you to give this family meeting thing a good old fashioned try. Put on your listening ears and hold a Family Meeting of your own. You’ll be amazed at what a little time together can actually reveal.
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