The power of a family meeting5 min read
Meetings are essential to establish healthy and effective communication among people. It not only provides a platform to voice one’s concerns or just simply present their perspective but also, is a helpful medium to foster rapport and empathy. Especially, in families, meeting regularly becomes very important, despite busy schedules and not-in-sync timetables. These meetings don’t necessarily have to be monotonous or repetitive but they can be as informal and fun as one wants. It depends from family to family, do whatever works for you. However, knowing the significance of it might prove to be a guiding force in maintaining the very essence of family meetings Below are some points which talk about the usefulness and value of family meetings,
1. Facilitates healthy communication
Family meetings are arguably the best way to encourage and develop healthy communication between the parents and the children. It facilitates in bridging the generation gap and understanding each other in a more profound way while also at the same time, being respectful of each other’s choices and opinions but questioning issues that don’t feel right to you. Apart from that, various arguments and misunderstandings can be simply resolved if one were to only sit down and talk about it. The family meetings, although imperative, need not be conducted weekly/ monthly. As stated earlier the schedule is flexible and can be altered according to the needs of a particular family. They can be as impromptu and spontaneous as one wants.
2. Gives a platform for expressing their views and emotions
Even though people have started talking about mental health, there’s still a lot of stigmas attached to it. The primary reason is that we are conditioned in a way that doesn’t really advocate mental wellbeing. However, family meetings are a great medium to talk about your feelings, emotions and anything as abstract as possible, which you want to share but don’t know how. It’s a famous saying that, “education starts at home”, and imbibing habits which improve your mental health, talking about problems, helping other family members to deal with their issues and being vocal and more emotionally stable are the stepping stones for a better and enriching mental health. Moreover, family is the safest place where one can talk without feeling judged or ridiculed for it.
3. Makes the bond stronger
“The family that eats together, stays together”. This doesn’t only apply to eating but can be substituted for any activity. By spending more quality time and developing a healthy, effective and operational plan of action, the familial bond, rapport and closeness among the members will become stronger than ever.
4. Opportunity to work through specific issues and problems
Holding meetings regularly to talk about difficulties and complications in the interpersonal relationships in the family instead of holding on to grudges and clinging on to the past is probably one of the most difficult tasks. Mostly, people are unwilling to fix things because they feel uncomfortable or unsettled talking about it but raising such issues and oscillating between certain taxing topics will facilitate in letting go of the past issues and pave for a better future. It will clear all the misunderstandings and misconceptions and lead to an augmented form of interaction and understanding.
5. Democratic process
Since family meetings usually take place by the general consensus it’s only natural that children are also involved in the decision making process. This inculcates a sense of responsibility in them because they are then also answerable for the decisions thus made. For instance- deciding about as simple as where to go for the next outing or even the menu for the upcoming week can be quite a task for a parent/ guardian and getting kids to participate in these activities will not only take off the pressure from them but also, if they (kids) didn’t have a good time, parents can always transfer half the blame on kids as well. (parenting 101). On a serious note, getting children involved will not just ensure a good quality time but also make them more mindful and thoughtful of their decisions too.
6. Promotes important life lessons
As stated in the above paragraph, family meetings are a great way to inculcate certain crucial values and skills which aren’t only useful in the long run but also, are slightly hard to teach or explain when done in the usual or standard way. Sitting together, taking decisions, hearing everyone out and respecting such diverse opinions will from a very young age make them acquainted with skills like, teamwork, problem solving, communication, acceptance, negotiation, collaboration just to name a few. In the long run, all these skills are highly valuable irrespective of the life that one chooses to lead and thus, are an asset to anyone.
7. Productive and insightful sessions
Family meetings need not be extremely tedious and tiresome. They can instead be an amalgamation of fun, efficacious, penetrative and intelligent activities sewn together. It can vary from watching educational yet, intriguing documentaries to playing games like scrabble or simply solving puzzles together which will sharpen their mind and encourage to think more logically and pragmatically, to scavenger hunts in order to unleash their adventurous side or just simply listening to old stories and experiences from their grandparents. Most of the time, kids are not really well connected with their grandparents which deprives them of knowing about the family history, unconditional love and affection along with engrossing tales of their grandparents’ childhood.
8. Staying connected even when afar
When kids grow up and move out, they tend to get busy in their lives without feeling the need to share the minor or unimportant details of their lives with their families. This makes them slightly disconnected from everyone. However, these meetings will provide a medium to catch up and have an honest conversation with everyone. Through this method, they will still be in touch with their loved ones and not feel alienated.