More Tips for Military Families with Teens – #40

Family Meetings – #40

I can honestly say that I don’t know many teens that would willing attend something called a family meeting but you don’t have to call it that just make sure you have one.  It needs to be set rigidily into your schedule and you should have some idea of the things that need to be discussed, topics that would be nice to get out in the open and ones that would be fun to talk about so that you can prioritize things in your own head (they will do their best to have their own agendas too and you want to make sure that you talk about at least one essential item).  Teens need to feel heard and have a time each week (every day is ideal) where they can count on getting a chance to speak their mind that is free of judgement.  You may find it hard not to judge what they are saying or doing but keep in mind that if you do that they will be hesitant to share again or will stop completely.  You can come up with creative ways to get these “meetings” to happen (just before or after a meal, Ice Cream Sundae Sundays, pizza night, movie night, etc.).

Tips:

* Avoid asking how something made them feel (they often don’t know) ask questions around what they did, why they decided to do that, etc.

* This should be a scheduled event so that it is understood that everyone will be there

* It doesn’t have to take place at home, if you are the family member that drives them to a rehearsal or practice pick them up and go for a drive, for a walk together afterwards, etc.

* Prioritize what you want to talk about and make sure you are ready to explain why it is important for you to talk to them about it

* Tell your teen how important they are to you and why

* End each “meeting” with a positive (“I feel lucky to have teens I can talk to”, “Thanks for giving your texting fingers a break to chat with me, I love this time together”)

* Avoid questions that can be answered with a simple “yes” or “no” (“How did you do…?”, “What do you think about…?”)

For more information about our blog, books, tips and resources go to: http://www.whileyouwereaway.org

To submit a tip, write to: Megan@whileyouwereaway.org

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