While problems within your family are not usually welcomed, they can be turned
into an opportunity for learning and growth. When an issue arises, involve
everyone in the problem solving process. A Family Talk is designed to discuss
an issue when it arises or as a weekly scheduled time.
A Family Talk is more
issue-related and different than a Family Meeting, which focuses on decision
making and planning for the family.
In Active Parenting of Teens: Parent's Guide, Dr. Michael H. Popkin provides
some guidelines for holding a family talk. And while these ideas were written
with teens in mind, the concepts can be applied to your whole family.
How to use Family Talks:
Discuss values and attitudes in a non-confrontational setting.
Influence your children's behavior and help build their character.
Focus on specific topics, such as honesty, career choices, drugs, sexuality,
television viewing, etc.
Tips for successful Family Talks:
Plan how you will start the topic. Popkin gives the example, "The topic
I'd like to introduce for this week's family talk is 'honesty.' Why is a person's
word so valuable?" After your first Talk, choose the topics together.
Use questions that will encourage discussion. "Why do you think it is
important to...", "How do you feel when...", etc.
Think about key issues you want to discuss beforehand. Do research on topics
such as drugs or sexuality, if necessary. Be prepared with written notes to
make sure certain issues are covered and to keep the Talk on track.
Use resource materials. Find a video, book or article that can be used during
the Talk to facilitate discussion and educate your kids.
Establish rules for the Talks. Examples include speaking respectfully, complimenting
others, not interrupting others, not making fun of other's ideas, no name-calling,
Make the most of this time with your children to promote open, honest dialog
in your family.
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