Family Meetings
April 7, 2016

Thank you to those of you who were able to make it to Wednesday morning’s Parent Encouragement Program (PEP) workshop on Limit Setting. Fatima Nascone offered an informative presentation on why setting limits for our children is important, and various strategies for how to do it. She gave an analogy to explain how limits provide positive and necessary guidance for development. Imagine driving at night, over a bridge that has no clear or visible guardrails. We would drive slowly, tentatively, afraid of what’s around the next bend. With clearly defined guardrails, we drive with confidence. What a strong illustration of how it must feel to navigate through life without well-defined parameters. Rules and guidelines are put in place at home, at school, really everywhere, so that we know what is expected of us. Without distinct guidelines, a child may seldom know if his actions or behavior, in a particular setting, is acceptable.

One takeaway for me, as a parent, was how valuable family meetings can be. My family has irregular, spontaneous meetings – mostly because I like how it sounds to be having such a meeting. The benefits of regularly scheduled family meetings are that it provides a time for everyone to celebrate accomplishments and discuss strategies when faced with a challenge. In fact, family meeting time seems to be a lot like staff meetings. It is protected time for the members to be together and have a chance to voice thoughts and feelings. Fatima suggested that the first few months of family meetings be kept short and simple – take the time to recognize an accomplishment of each member, plan a family activity for the coming week, and adjourn! This paves the way for upcoming talks that might be more complicated.

Over the next few months, I will be implementing family meetings. If for nothing else, to restore protected family time. As my children are getting older, family time is diminishing. I do not want to wait until it is all but gone – as independent as my children may be, they will be living under my roof for at least another decade!

Harbor School