Family Meetings Promote Communication and Problem Solving

Family meetings provide an opportunity to coordinate family schedules, improve communication, and have fun together.
Family Meetings Promote Communication and Problem Solving - Articles


With the start of school, families often experience a bit of chaos handling new schedules and routines. Family meetings are an effective tool to help family members communicate and solve problems like scheduling issues. Family meetings also allow time for families to share good things that happened as well as time to have fun together.

  • Hold family meetings on a regular basis. Once a week is great for most families, but may seem too big a task in the beginning. The key is that the family decides when and where to hold the meetings. Decide the length of the meeting in advance; if you have young children, keep the meetings short.
  • Don't force anyone to attend. If one person in the family chooses not to participate, don't force the issue. Eventually, that person will see that everyone else is enjoying the meeting and will probably choose to join the fun.
  • Set ground rules. These help maintain healthy interactions. Some examples are:
    • Begin and end on time.
    • Respect everyone's opinion.
    • Accept and support group decisions.
    • Issues should not be shared beyond the family except by common agreement.
  • Whenever possible, reach decisions by consensus where all family members are in agreement. This method of decision-making helps everyone feel like they have had input and are thus more likely to abide by the decision.
  • Make time for family members to share their joys as well as their problems and concerns. If complaints are the only thing discussed during meetings, people will soon lose interest and not attend.
  • Be sure to include fun activities for the whole family. You can end the meeting with a movie night, card or board game, or trip for ice cream. Be sure that everyone has input or that you take turns doing things that each family member enjoys.
  • To learn more about family meetings and other strategies to improve communication with children ages 10-14, register for a The Strengthening Families Program: for Parents and Youth 10-14 workshop.