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About Vernonia's voice. (Vernonia, OR) 2007-current | View Entire Issue (May 7, 2015)
in other words
Better Parenting: Guidelines for Family Meetings - Part 2
By Sonia Spackman
Invite your family to start having
regular meetings. Agree on a time for the
first meeting. Before you meet, read this
column completely. When you meet,
explain the purpose of family meetings.
• To share good feelings
• To have fun together
• To make plans
• To talk about problems and help each
• Keep the first meeting short.
• Agree on a time for the next meeting.
• Don’t expect to have a “perfect”
meeting. You are just getting started!
• The most important thing is for everyone
to feel their ideas are important.
Making a family meeting work
takes time and effort. Here are some
ideas to help you get started.
There can be a tendency to talk about
problems concerning the parent that is
not present in a single parent family.
Children need to talk about these
problems. The family meeting is not the
place to do this. Family meetings are to
help people who live together get along
Two Parent Family with One Involved
Some families with two parents have
only one who wants to have family
meetings. This is okay. Start to have
meetings without the other adult. After
a while your partner may see how the
meetings work and decide to join in.
One Parent-One Child Family
You may ask, “Why should I have
family meetings when we are together
all the time?” The family meeting does
many things that daily “togetherness”
will not always do. It lets you set-aside
time to talk about problems. It gives
you time to focus on good things too.
Family meetings help you and your child
In step families children are continually
learning to relate to each other. It is
important to start the family meeting on
a positive note, not in response to a crisis
or argument. Start with issues you think
would be easy to talk about such as family
fun. After a few meetings you can start
on the “harder” issues, such as chores or
one problem the kids are having. Keep
non-family issues such as non-custodial
adults out of your meetings.
Here are some ideas that may help:
• Meet at a time when there are no
distractions like meal time, TV or anyone
answering their phones. Maybe once a
week plan to have a meeting that lasts
from twenty to thirty minutes. Younger
children need shorter meetings, ten to
fifteen minutes, more often.
• Post meeting topics on the refrigerator.
The family can add to it during the days
before the meeting. This helps keep
track of everyone’s concerns without
much time or wasted effort.
• Look at the meeting list. Decide which
topics you can cover at the first meetings.
Leave time to explore alternatives and
• Take turns with different tasks during
the family meeting. The leader reads
the meeting list and keeps things on
track. Young children will help do this.
It’s important to let each person have a
chance to lead.
• Write down the agreements and plans
Volunteers for Jamboree
The Vernonia Friendship Jamboree
and Logging Show is an annual
event which welcomes visitors,
residents and old friends to
celebrate and showcase our
community with food, music,
activities and events.
Committee - your
friends and neighbors
who make this event
happen each year.
WE NEED YOU!
Join the Committee!
We meet the 2nd Wednesday of each month.
WE NEED YOUR
made in the meeting, so no one will
forget or be confused. Take turns doing
the note taking. Older children can read
the notes to children who can’t read.
Younger children could put the notes on
• When talking, let your children speak
first. This helps them feel responsible.
If a child hasn’t talked, ask the child,
“What do you think?” If a child talks too
much, stay respectful. You could say, “It
sounds like this is important to you. We
need to hear how everyone feels about
it.” If someone is not showing respect,
use an I-message: “When I hear name-
calling, I feel worried, because I want
us to work together. So I need people to
talk without name-calling. I thank you
• Complaining won’t solve problems
or help families enjoy each other. If
complaining is a problem, ask, “What
do we want?” How can we get what we
• To start choosing chores, volunteer for
some of the chores no one likes. You
might say: “I’ll clean the cat box and the
bathroom. Who will vacuum and dust?”
As time goes on expect others to do
some of the “icky” chores too. One way
to take turns is by using a job jar. Talk
together about all the jobs that need to be
done each week, write them on slips of
paper and put them in a jar. Each week,
draw jobs out of the jar.
• Stick to agreements until next meeting.
If people want to change the agreement,
they can do it then. Children and parents
are expected to do what they agree to do.
• If one day you don’t do something you
agreed to, tell your family you are sorry.
Tell them you will work to do a better
job. A child might sometimes forget or
not have enough time. No one is perfect.
If broken agreements continue, make a
“work before fun” rule for everyone.
• To take time to add fun to the meetings,
you can you can thank each other for
some help given during the week or ask
people to talk about what is going well
for them now. Plan to do something you
all enjoy like watching a family favorite
video or choosing from a “Fun Jar” with
ideas for family fun.
• Have fun after the meeting. Play a
game, go for a walk or a bike ride,
something that all can participate in and
A Continuing Family Meeting Plan
1. Share good things that have happened
2. Read the notes from the last meeting
3. Talk about “old business”- things from
the last meeting
4. Talk about “new business”- things
people want to talk about at this meeting
5. Plan something fun to do
6. Repeat what people have agreed to
7. At the end of the meeting ask:
• What should we keep the same?
• What should we do more of?
• What should we do less of?
Many families have found that
these family meetings are a way to
strengthen your family. In addition, as
time passes you may be surprised to see
how you have prevented problems as
you see your children mature well.
Sonia A. Ford, MA, M FT, adapted from
American Guidance Service, S.T.E.P.,
Don Diaz, More Fool Proof Family
Meeting Tips, internet.
The Friends of the Banks
Fri, May 8 frnm 2-7 pm
Sat, May 9 frnm 9-3 pm
Sunset Park (12765 NW Main St)
Perennials, annuals, vegetable & herb starts
Bnnks and lncal artists
Mnther's Day gifts
Credit cards accepted
Art Cnntact: Library 503-324-9132
We could use your help with:
• Set up/Tear down
• Trafﬁc Control
• Info Booth
• Music Coordination
• Electrical Specialist
• Vendor Coordination
• Parade Assistant
• Parade Registration
VOLUNTEER AND GET ONE OF THE YELLOW T-SHIRTS!
For more information to volunteer
and help make Jamboree happen contact:
Megan at (971)254-6826 or
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