A few parents visibly cringe when they hear the word, rules. They worry that having rules will strangle their children's expression, diminish their relationship or simply find it work that is too hard. The result of this sort of belief is a rapidly emerging group of young people who have been subjected to what's been called "loving neglect". A statement recently released by the British National Association of Head Teachers said that some parents "love their children too much to say no". Their children eat too much, eat what they like, do what they like, go to bed when they want and watch too much television. They see the problem as running throughout all socioeconomic groups and is responsible for creating a group of young people unfit to pay attention, unfit to remember, unfit to follow instruction and with little respect for their learning.
Let's build on the idea of developing rules as a thoroughly positive way for everyone in the family to know what's expected from them and what they can expect from others. Effective rules:
Your first response to this idea is likely that family meetings seem old-school or corny. This seems the initial response of most, but so often family meetings reap refreshing benefits simply because they get everyone talking. The essence of family meetings is to review what's happening in the family, what's working and what's not. It presents a forum to discuss, review and make changes. Family meetings are an excellent vehicle to build relationship, model respect and demonstrate compromise.
Here are a few ideas to design family meetings around: