Family Discusions -- Part Two: The Family Council Meeting

In Active Parenting of Teens: Parent's Guide, Dr. Michael H. Popkin provides some guidelines for holding a Family Council Meeting. A Family Council Meeting provides an opportunity for all family members to make family decisions or problem solve.

How to start Family Council Meetings:

* Inform your family members. Anyone involved in family decision making should attend these meetings.
* Set a time and place. Find a good time every week to get everyone involved.
* Keep your first meeting short. The first Family Council Meeting will be a good time to really practice how things will be done. So keep it short and only address one key issue. Then plan something fun to do as a family immediately afterward.

Tips for successful Family Council Meetings:

* Assign leadership roles. Each meeting, have different family members be the leaders of the meeting. One person will be the chairperson, who keeps the discussion on track, and the other is the secretary, who takes notes of what occurs and reads the minutes of the previous meeting.
* Design an agenda. The agenda doesn't have to be something formal, but is designed to keep the meeting on task. Popkin suggests the following schedule: (1) compliments to each family member, (2) reading of the last meeting's minutes, (3) discussion of any unfinished business and of new business, (4) discussion of chores and allowances (you could also use this time to distribute allowances), and (5) conclude the meeting with a fun family activity, such as a game or going out for dessert.
* Have an agenda list. Consider posting an agenda list in a common area, such as the refrigerator, where family members can right down issues they would like to discuss at the meeting.

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