By: Valerie Holcomb, MFTi
Have you ever wondered why your child is acting out? They want attention and as a parent you might feel like these demands never stop (for more info on that, click here). In situations like this, teaching your child limits and making some time to spend with your child can make a difference. Having a family meeting once a week can allow your attention to be on your child. Family meetings, especially in families with young children, can facilitate a space for you to speak openly and briefly with your child(ren), which is often best for addressing behavior problems.
Having a regular family meeting is a good way to help your child learn cooperative skills. You will not only learn to solve problems together, but you and your family will be able to :
• Share positive feelings
• Have fun together
• Make decisions about family issues
• Provide encouragement
• Talk about problems
Family meetings can also benefit each of your family members. For example, you might have a grandparent living in your home and they need to be part of the family meetings too. But remember, although extended family/household members may be present t the meeting, your child needs you to do the parenting. Setting healthy boundaries and making it clear that the discipline and final decisions are up to you allows your child to accept structure, rules and consequences for actions in a healthy setting.
Family meetings work best if the focus is on one issue and one solution. Maintaining consistent family meetings will help your child learn to follow agreements over time. Most importantly, have fun as a family and enjoy working together. Share past highlights, positive experiences or behaviors you have observed and talk about new issues that have arisen. Together you and your child are learning new skills and through your influence, you can make a relationship that your child will learn to respect and love as they grow up.