A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog about the importance of family meetings in building a strong family unit.
One of my readers posted a blog about how her family used the family meetings to resolve problems.
It’s a wonderful idea, and I wanted to pass it along because I think a family can use this to resolve internal conflicts (like a fight between siblings), as well as external problems (like a bill that needs to be paid).
A lot of siblings never develop close bonds with each other, so even as adults, they aren’t very close. Some even carry their rivalry into adulthood.
It seems to me that if a family member presents a problem, and then the rest of the family works together to come up with a solution that works for everyone, each member of the family will feel honored, respected, and a valuable member of the family.
And then, the family will work together to execute a solution as a team, making the family grow closer together.
My kids are still young, so I am ironing out the kinks, but here are some of my thoughts on how families can solve problems together and build an atmosphere where family members work together:
- When a family member presents a problem, make sure that each person in the family has a chance to add to the context.
Explain that the family meeting isn’t a time for fighting, but rather to state the problem as everyone sees it.
- Then, explain that because you are a family, it is important that you find a solution together. Explain that the family is not going to focus on the problem; instead, it is going to come up with a way to make the problem go away.
Tell your kids that you all love each other and want to get along, and that resolving conflict by looking for solutions together is an important part of this.
- Then let everyone brainstorm for solutions.
Write everything down, and don’t criticize people’s ideas, even if they are absurd. After all, your children need to know that you respect their opinions.
- Then, ask the family members to discuss the solutions that seem the most fair.
- Then talk it out, and try to come up with a solution that works for everyone.
Like I said, I think this works for internal conflicts as well as external problems. If Suzy is mad at her brother because he didn’t help with the chores, this can be resolved during family meetings.
And if Suzy really want to go to soccer camp but she doesn’t have the money, this is a great time to problem-solve and teach your children about goals, savings, and “opportunity costs.”
Suzy might say, “I want to go to soccer camp, but I need $500 and I don’t have it.”
Then the family can throw out solutions.
“You can start saving your allowance. That will get you a little bit of money.”
“You could sell your bike.”
“How about a part-time job?”
“Could we look for a cheaper soccer camp? If so, maybe Mom and Dad could pay for your soccer camp as an early birthday present.”
I love this idea because it reinforces the idea that a family is a unit—a team that supports each other, cheers each other on, and looks for solutions together. (Thanks to my reader, Andy, for the idea!)
What do you think? Let me know if you have any other ideas, particularly if they have to do with solving financial problems.