Volume 5, Number 3
Jr., MSW, LCSW, CCCE
Kimble Cares Relatives As Parents
The Boyhood Initiative of Missouri
(314) 882-6840 or
Erika Webb 314-882-6820
During a recent support group session, I met with a grandparent who
expressed having trouble with her grandchildren. “They act like I’m
the enemy when I’m the one who rescued them from all that mess”. A
deeper understanding of her problem started with the children not
feeling heard or listened to. As we talked for nearly an hour after
the group, we concluded that her children wanted to have a voice
because their lives had been dictated by so many other people.
“Family meetings,” I explained, “may be a first step in creating an
environment in which each person in the house has a chance to voice
their ideas and concerns. Like many relatives as parents, this
grandmother loved her children but was not used to thinking of them
as equal players in the game of making decisions. However, giving a
child a voice can help them feel empowered, respected, and in
control of their own behaviors.
Family meetings are one positive way of achieving this goal, and in
many instances, help to solve the behavioral and emotional problems
children display at home and elsewhere. By
definition, a family meeting is a process whereby each member of the
family comes together to discuss an issue that affects the familial
unit. It is a great opportunity for members to bring up concerns and
conflicts in a supportive setting, without feeling that their
concerns will be ignored or used against them. Involving children as
young as three years of age, these meetings can help children feel
bonded to their caregivers.
When setting up a family meeting, it is very important to keep a few
things in mind.
Whether discussing a concern of the parent/caregiver or an issue
that the children have about the parent, it is important to
first determine the purpose of the meeting. Make it clear to
everyone that you are meeting to talk about things relevant to
Remember to set rules from the very beginning. One of the most
important ones is to respect everyone’s opinion and viewpoint.
Additionally, guarantee them that whatever is said will not be
held or used against them. Children need to be reassured that
this is a safe time and place to share their thoughts. Because
feelings are never wrong, whatever they say must be respected.
parent/caregiver, try to begin each meeting with a positive comment
about the other family members.
Write down things discussed to refer to in future meetings.
Do not try to resolve one person’s problems in a family meeting.
They are not family therapy
sessions. Use them to share thoughts and feelings. Seek out a
therapist for this issue.
Most important, keep it fun and use the time to enjoy and learn from
In order to raise children to feel good about themselves, they must
be made to feel valued and important. Family meetings are one way of
achieving this goal. To learn more about these activities, feel free
to contact staff at The Boyhood Initiative of Missouri at (314)