Work & Family Book Pick: Our Family Meeting Book

Work & Family Book  Pick: Our Family Meeting Book
You've probably heard how important communication is in a family, and may even have thought about holding family meetings. But how? Work & Family Book has a suggested title that makes family meetings easy to start.

"Our Family Meeting Book," by Elaine Hightower and Betsy Riley (Free Spirit Publishing, 2002; 136 pages. Paperback, $16.95) is a welcome tool for today's busy families. Whether you are dual-income parents, a single parent, or a couple with one working parent and other staying home, this book can help organize your family's day-to-day events and responsibilities, and even more importantly, assist you in laying out your own rules and goals.

The authors offer a brief discussion about the benefits of regular meetings. "Kids learn to assert themselves, communicate their feelings, listen to others' viewpoints, and solve problems," they write. "Everyone airs frustrations and shares dreams in a setting that is supportive and not emotionally charged."

The book then gives 52 weekly meeting "agendas" on common family topics, like developing your family's values, dealing with peer pressure, gender roles, family finances, planning for emergencies and family fun. You can pick and choose which agenda to follow in any week. Each meeting provides an area for you to jot down accomplishments, expectations and family matters (for your meeting minutes). Each week also holds space for menu planning.

The book ends with a variety of tools for planning summer fun, making chore charts, and remembering together-time.

Scattered throughout the book are "Parent-To-Parent" boxes, or short parenting tips. "Allowing children to help out around the home is critical for developing a cooperative spirit. It reinforces children's sense of belonging and raises their self-esteem," one "Parent-To-Parent" box suggests, for example.

"If we as parents want to pass on our values and raise strong, confident children, we have to be more deliberate about our parenting," the authors assert. "Holding family meetings is one of the quickest, easiest ways to improve communication and build character within our families."

Pick up a copy of "Our Family Meeting Book."

Stop by the Work & Family Forum at BellaOnline to share your views about this book, about balancing work and family and about holding meetings to keep communication open at home.

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