By Katrina Smith
One of the challenges that my husband and I had as a newly blended family was facing the “elephants in the room.” You know, when one of our children’s feelings were hurt or they were mad at someone, they would walk in the room not speaking to anyone. Then there would be this awkward and uncomfortable silence and everyone would have to walk on eggshells until that person stored away all of their resent in their mental storage shed to bring our later when they were angry.
We finally decided that we would no longer accept those behaviors. We started holding family meetings. These meetings were where if something was going on, we would stop what we were doing right away and hash it out. But we also knew that we couldn’t just go in with everyone feeling tension. We needed an agenda. We needed guidance.
So I created one.
At first, the kids would be emotional and fold their arms in rebellion and anger that they had to sit in this corny circle with no choice. When it was their turn to talk, they would pull out all the stops. The tears, the victim mentality, the blame game and the “but you let so and so get away with so and so.” We had to keep reeling them back in to personal accountability and come up with solutions. We had to make sure that there was no favoritism or allegiances within our unit. My husband and I had to think and speak the same manner for consistency. Any discrepancies had to be talked about later where the kids could not witness it. We also had to humble ourselves as parents and confess that we are just adults who are learning and growing as well and we too will make mistakes along the way. We had to be firm and tell them that we cannot crack under pressure and mold our parenting to other kids parents because that is a cowards parenting style. We have to follow our beliefs, even if it was opposition to “so and so’s” mother’s parenting that is more lenient than ours.
But after awhile, we were shocked. The kids vented and got out all of their frustration and actually listened. They listened because we listened. All of the tension was let out and dealt with and soon we were laughing again. We began to hold them every one to two weeks or it would be spontaneous when something was going on. We would hold meeting if the kids were arguing, schoolwork or chores were slipping, outside influences were starting to infiltrate our home or even to have a praise meeting. To pour praises on the kids when they were doing well. They would think we were there to get on them, but it was to praise their accomplishments. Now, when we yell up the stairs, they know exactly what it is about and come running down. We are beginning to think that they love the meetings.
The first meeting is always the hardest because there is typically a storage full of tension, yet to be released. But the absolute worst thing you can do is avoid it. The easiest thing is never the right thing. It is the hardest things in life that we hate to do that is typically the right thing to do.
This could apply if you are a single parent, a newly saved family and/or a blended family. Remember that a family will go through struggles, that is a guarantee. But you will never find happiness in life by avoiding life. See below for our family meeting agenda and try it out! Please send me a message on how it works out for you.
Family Meeting Rules
- Open with Prayer
- No television or cell phones (shut phones off)
- Begin with reading the fruits of the spirit and their definitions and then discuss (This is how our meeting will operate) “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23
- Follow up with the biblical scriptures of family and unity and then discuss.
“While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him. Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.” He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” Matthew 12: 46-50
“If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.” Mark 3:25-26
Have each person define what home means to them. Example:(Refuge, safe haven, a place to lay down your burdens, comfort, warmth, love)
- No leaving the circle without all in agreement
- Be honest and transparent by confessng your feelings and ask for forgiveness. No issues should go unaddressed!
- When your emotions conflict, refer to the bible. It trumps all. Just say, “Let’s see what GOD has to say about this”
- Take turns listening and talking with no interrupting
- Close with prayer and hugs, and everyone go out to get ice cream and bond
- Always hug one another goodnight no matter how angry you are
Co-Founder, B.L.O.G Magazine™
The Co-Founder of B.L.O.G Magazine™, Katrina is a simple mid-western girl from the inner city of Indianapolis, Indiana, where she is happily married with six children. After teaching financial literacy in underserved communities for eight years, she is now the author and workshop facilitator for The Butterfly Movement book, workbook and workshops and Evicting Jezebel. She is also currently working on the release of her next books, Independent No More and Wisdom is a She due to release in April 2013. You can find her on Facebook and Twitter or contact her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org