One of the keys to a strong, healthy, successful family is the ability to communicate–for family members to be able to talk and listen to one another with every feeling heard and positive interactions being the end result.
Too bad it’s not always as easy as it seems. But there’s hope—and help. Family therapist Christy Monson’s new book Family Talk is a well-written guide to strengthening and improving family relationships through family meetings.
We’ve had family meetings on and off over the years and when we’ve had them, they’ve generally been pretty successful. But reading Christy’s book makes me wish I could go back and have a do-over. There is so much great information in Family Talk about teaching family values and about teaching and problem solving with your kids.
In one anecdote about family rules, Christy shares the story of a girl named Sally and her family. Sunday was a family day for Sally’s family and they had long since established a rule about Sunday activities. Sally had a friend named Melissa who invited her to go boating one Sunday. Thinking her parents would say no if just asked, she decided to bring it up at their next family council meeting in the hopes that her big brothers would support her position. So it came up for discussion at the next meeting. Unfortunately for Sally (or perhaps fortunately in the family scheme of things), her brothers didn’t support her position and she was able to use their experience to make her own decision. Instead of being an edict handed down by her parents, the siblings were able to teach one another from their own experience. I loved that example and plan to get much better at using it with my own children.
One of the other things I really appreciated about this book is that Christy didn’t just focus on one type of family but devoted considerable time in the book demonstrating how the family meeting approach could work and benefit different types of families, including single-parent and blended families. While neither is currently my experience, they are no longer uncommon and both present with special challenges that will definitely benefit from improved communication and strengthened relationships.
As the book’s cover says:
You’d be amazed at what a little meeting can do. In the safe, loving environment of a family meeting, discover the perfect place to:
- Teach family values
- Set rules, expectations, and consequences
- Solve Problems
- Create family unity
- Plan family outings
- Address sibling rivalry
- Foster maturity
- Set financial goals
- Learn from mistakes
- See the good in each other
- Empower children
- Navigate serious issues
- and much, much more
I highly recommend this book, whether you are a newlywed couple just thinking about starting a family, in the midst of child rearing or approaching the empty nest. The techniques and topics covered in this book can be adapted to any family situation with success.
About the author: Christy Monson established a successful counseling practice in Las Vegas, Nevada, as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Her books, Love, Hugs, and Hope: When Scary Things Happen and Becoming Free: A Woman’s Guide To Internal Strength are published by Familius.