Parenting Coach

Practical ideas for social, emotional and behavioral challenges

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Have a family meeting each week.

What you can do

Schedule a family meeting that takes place the same day and time each week. Try to find a time that doesn’t conflict with activities that are important to any family member and that also has the best chance for everyone to be rested and calm.

Set guidelines for the meeting such as forbidding interruptions and giving everyone equal time to speak. It’s also a good idea to only allow “I” statements, not “You” statements. Let people know they’ll need to leave the meeting until they get their emotions under control.

Make it clear that if a compromise can’t be reached, you’ll come up with a temporary arrangement until the next family meeting. Write down what is agreed upon and read it back to everyone at the end of the meeting.

What you can say

“Sofia, our family meeting begins in 15 minutes. Start thinking about what you want to say on the topics of curfews and driving privileges. This is a good time to get a snack or use the bathroom so you’ll be ready when the meeting starts.”

“Sofia, I got scared and worried when you were out late with the car. I was afraid something bad might have happened.”

“OK, I can see you’re getting upset and having difficulty following the family-meeting guidelines. I really want to hear what you have to say. Let’s all take a short break so that all of our ideas can be presented in the best way.”

Why this will help

Family meetings are an ideal setting for solving problems as a group. These meetings can show children with attention issues that they’re being treated the same as other siblings.

The format of these meetings will reinforce the message to your child that ideas have the best chance of being heard when they’re presented calmly. Family meetings will also help your child feel that she can be part of the solution rather than always being the cause of the problem.

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