10 Tips for Successful Family Meetings


Emergency situations like natural disasters can be extremely stressful for families, sometimes causing a breakdown in communication or arguments on how to move forward after an event. Just planning for a possible emergency can be stressful enough.

If communication has become challenging, it could be worth setting up a structured family meeting.

How to plan a family meeting before or after an emergency

Ongoing communication between family members is critical, especially after an emergency. A family meeting should be a safe place where everyone is free to say what they think and feel as they work together to make decisions and solve problems.

When there is a problem, applying research-based anger management strategies and conflict resolution techniques to these structured, family discussions can reduce and prevent arguments.

Here are some tips to help increase the success of your next family meeting:

  1. Meet at a scheduled time
  2. Give all family members a role (e.g. leader, timekeeper, etc.)
  3. Encourage all family members to participate
  4. Create an agenda, and discuss one topic or problem at a time
  5. Give everyone a chance to express their thoughts/feelings
  6. Use problem-solving steps
  7. Let family members vote on decisions
  8. Ask family members for additional thoughts or objections before finalizing decisions
  9. Take breaks when needed
  10. End the meeting with a family tradition

The key to a successful family meeting is to be flexible. As family members grow and change, so do family meeting structures. Families who grow together will be happier.

Read the full Family Meeting Guide for more information.


Did you know?

  • While most families argue, some families have arguments where pushing, slapping, hitting, or worse are involved. No matter what, all families can learn different strategies to discuss difficult issues. 
  • People are more likely to suffer violence and neglect from those closest to them than from strangers.
  • Adults who experienced violent childhoods are more likely to abuse children and romantic partners than those who experienced little or no violence as children.
  • If you or someone in your family is dealing with violence at home, contact your local social services or family services office and ask to speak with a licensed clinical social worker for help.