I must say that our family meeting went quite well last week. The items on our family meeting agenda were as follows:
1. iPod Touch (The kids had been arguing about sharing and the fact that it was always dirty and needed to be charged.)
2. Water Bottles (Dad was frustrated that the kids would take one drink from a water bottle and then leave it on the counter. We were wasting a lot of water.)
3. Name Calling (Emma was concerned about all the name calling between her and Gibson.)
We started using the Family Meeting Album which has been a big help. Emma acted as the recorder and was writing down all of the minutes for the meeting. First on the agenda was "Compliments."
1. Emma complimented Gracie (our dog) for being such a good girl.
2. Dad complimented Gibson for doing such a great job at his piano recital.
3. Dad complimented Emma for working so hard at her volleyball practices.
4. Gibson complimented Emma for working so hard at video games. (a little tongue in cheek)
After compliments we began to focus on solutions for the challenges on the agenda. We first brainstormed solutions for the iPod Touch. The following are the ideas we came up with.
1. Emma clean her hands before using.
2. Gibson let Emma have a proper turn.
3. Whoever uses it, cleans it.
4. Everybody plugs it in after using it.
5. Gibson understand that Emma does NOT pick her nose.
6. Have Emma sell her iPod Nano and buy her own iPod Touch.
7. Get rid of the iPod Touch.
8. Have a 2 hour limit.
The solutions the kids chose were #3 and #4. We decided that if someone didn't follow the rules, they would lose the privilege of using the iPod Touch for the rest of the week. And guess what? There wasn't a single argument about the iPod Touch this week. Emma was very conscientious about cleaning and plugging in the iPod Touch and Gibson never complained.
The next item on the list of challenges was "Water Bottles." This problem was pretty simple to solve. Dad suggested that everybody use the sharpie marker and put their initial on the cap. This seemed like a logical solution to the kids and they agreed. We didn't have any wasted water bottles this week.
The next item on the list of challenges was "Name Calling." We came up with the following solutions.
1. Gibson stop trying to annoy Emma.
2. When you want to call someone a name, say "I Love You" instead.
3. Emma try to be patient.
4. Emma use her stress ball when she is feeling frustrated.
The solution we chose for Emma was to use her stress ball. And for Gibson we decided he would say "I Love You" when he felt like calling Emma a name.
You may be thinking...Come on! There is no way a teenager agreed to say "I Love You." But a couple days later, I actually heard Gibson say "I Love You" to Emma when he was annoyed. And then later in the week, Emma came up to me and said "Hey Dad, guess how many days it has been since me and Gibson had a fight? FIVE DAYS!!!"
I'll admit that I had my doubts about solving our problems with a family meeting. But this has been such an overwhelming success, I am now a convert. I think my attitude during the meeting helped a lot. I really let the kids take the lead on brainstorming for solutions on their own. I made a few suggestions, but I always let the kids decide on the solution they wanted to try.
I love how you showed us your agenda and brainstormed ideas, it's a great example!
I'm introducing PD to my parenting reading club, I'm going to show them this example since many of them still have doubts about family meetings, I hope you don't mind!
Thanks Mohammed. I think that's a great idea!
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