The Family Circle

Various situations in family life can require the creation of a quiet place of reflection and discussion.  One idea for helping everyone in the family cope better and keep the attitudes in the family as positive as possible is the family circle.  To have a family circle proceed as follows:

  1. Place – A good place to have a family circle is in the living room or the kitchen table.  The only rule is that the T.V. and all other entertainment machines (radio, stereo system) should be off.
  2. Time – A family circle should take place after homework is done and before bed.  An alternative is on a weekend morning.  The important thing is that it be a relaxing and non-pressured time.
  3. Treats Ideally, the parents should arrange for drinks and a plate of cookies or fruit in the center of the table so that all can partake of a snack while listening.
  4. The Rules – The only rules are that each person has a turn to talk about the issue being discussed one at a time.  He or she should not be interrupted by anyone when they are talking.  The following are examples of topics that a family may want to discuss:
  5. When we the parents say no to someone, there is an inevitable fight that results.  How can we resolve this?
  6. Fighting between kids is getting out of hand.  We the parents feel frustrated but we want to avoid handing out big punishments.  Let’s find some solutions that all are happy with.
  7. We have a family member that is moving off to university.  We have to look again at who will sleep in which room.  Let’s find out how best to reorganize our living space.  
  8. Who Talks – Every member of the family should be invited to talk, including the parents.  If a person does not want to talk, that is O.K.  If a child is under seven years old, parents should encourage the child to listen, to say a few words, and possibly draw a picture of how they are getting along.  Even two or three year old children should be there so that they can see that the parents are working to make it better.
  9. How Often – These meetings can occur once a week or once every two weeks until the family feels they have worked things out.
  10. Ending – At the end, the parents should make sure the children understand what the meeting was about.  Words like “So we discussed this topic and came up with these solutions.  Do you all feel that what I just said is what we decided???”


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