Today, we're going to discuss with you a topic that brings power, principle and purpose home. We call it Family Home Evening. This is going to rock your world.
Paul: Vicki, we've had a practice in our family that I've realized in recent years (after the kids are grown) has been a really powerful practice. We have been implementing this in some of our parenting groups and the programs that we are doing for positive parenting. Some people call it different things, it could be family council, family together time, family night. I have one family that calls it family drum circle. It's a meeting that you hold on a consistent basis, we recommend weekly.
There are other things you ought to do daily, like family dinner, for example, but this is a meeting that you'll hold once a week for a couple of very specific purposes. Implementing this as a culture or a tradition or a practice in your home has some very clear benefits.
Vicki: One of the biggest benefits of having a family time that’s set apart as a meeting, is you have a chance to converse and talk about things. It opens up this whole window. It's like now is safe and okay to talk about anything as a family.
Paul: About anything. Now, some of the things you need to talk to your kids about are awkward. At least if feels awkward if it's just out of the blue.
Vicki: A lot of the times as parents, we think we have to react in the moment. “I got to deliver my consequence in the moment. We need to hash this out.” And generally, when your emotions are high and your child's emotions are high, it is not the best time to talk through how things could have gone better.
Paul: That might be the worst time.
Vicki: Yeah, it is definitely. We need opportunities to talk about what to do when you come home late. Or how to keep yourself safe, or hygiene.
Paul: These are topics that are important to be taught, but when are you going to do it? We are suggesting you do it during this family meeting that you set up. A little context around this. In one of our groups recently, one of the families was working on some self-injurious behavior that their daughter was engaging in. They weren't sure how to address this. Well, as we were discussing this in the group, this mom asked a very simple question, “When are we gonna have that conversation?” That brought up our discussion about having a regular family meeting. Now, if it's held regularly, you set an expectation for the kids and you send a very strong message that our family is important. In fact, it is more important than anything else we could do during this time. That's a powerful message.
When are you going to bring it up? Well, you simply say in the meeting, “This week's topic is…” And because you're having it every week, it takes all the awkwardness out.
Vicki: But it gives you a chance to breach a subject that you might not know when or how to introduce.
Paul: Now, there's some elements that I would recommend that you implement. We already talked about having this weekly. Pick a time. For us it was Monday night after mom and dad got home from work, we would get together as a family. The first element is learning and instruction. You as a parent are responsible for this. Do not trust the world or society or the school to teach your kids what they need to know. This is your responsibility and this is the time that we are going to do it. So, there's a learning and instruction time. That could look like a lesson, it could look like a discussion, it could look like watching a video. You can use any video at our channel on YouTube, Live On Purpose TV.
Vicki: One of the hardest things for me as a mom I think was being consistent. Everything, everything just being consistent in everything that we do. Just pick a regular time and be consistent, commit to it. Now, it doesn't have to be long. As a matter of fact there were many years that we called it family home moment. It felt like that was all we could do to get all 4 children in one spot and acting nicely and everything. As parents, a lot of our job is very serious. So, one of the things that you can do with family home evening is use it as a chance to have fun. Play a game together, laugh together, do some activity. I remember one of the times our son was into disc golf? So, we went up to a park and he taught us how to play disc golf one night. And it was really fun, really tiring. Laughter really, really bonds so laugh together.
Paul: This also increases your authority as a parent. We've talked before about two essential elements of authority is being seen as a provider of good times, good things and being able to set and enforce appropriate limits. This is a time for you, a context for you in which you can actually have fun on purpose as a family. That is so powerful. Oh, and we can't forget my favorite part. Have a treat. Now, I'm not saying that you should pig out on sugar, high carbs, whatever. Although occasionally, maybe. Have something to enjoy together as a treat. This gives your kids something to look forward to. It gives you something to look forward to. There's actually research that shows that when you enjoy something edible together, it increases a bond with the family.
Vicki: Don't forget that we are sharing the responsibilities. There are lots of little places where you can give your child a chance to show some responsibility. Maybe they get to do invitations or maybe they get to plan the treat. Or maybe they get to help make the treat. Or bring up a topic that they want to be discussed. Kids don't know how to lead and you get to show them how to develop leadership skills.
Paul: I was just thinking that this teaches some real-world, applicable life skills.
Vicki: Yeah, I was reading a recent study about jobs and employers. They look at the potential employee and evaluates their hard skills and interpersonal skills that you need for a job. Employers will take the person with interpersonal skills first. They feel they can always teach the hard skills. You are teaching your child how to collaborate, how to be in a meeting and be successful in a collaborative situation.
Paul: And they're working as a team.
Vicki: Yeah. It's a great skill.
Paul: What better team is there than your family? We've got a challenge for you. Start this now. Don't wait till your kids are older. In fact, that's a worse time to do it. You want to establish these patterns now. You might be thinking, “What if my kids are older?” Yes. And they are going to get older still. So, start now and you don't have to be perfect with this. Remember the elements we talked about and have fun. This is going to bring power, principle and purpose into your home.
If you are ready to take this to a higher level let's get you into one of our courses or coaching programs. If that interests you and you want us to be a more intimate part of your team, jump on a call with one of our Live On Purpose Coaches who help you figure out what is right for you. Go to drpauljenkins.com/breakthroughcall, that's going to get you right to our calendar. We'll have a conversation with you about what's available.