This month, we’re sharing 30 different ways to grow closer as a family. You can see the other ideas we’ve shared here.
Family counsel is something that I’d never really heard of before I married my husband. It is a weekly ritual in his family. It is a tool they used each week to keep the family on the same page. It is different from Family Home Evening, although it could be combined into the same night if needed.
Basically, family counsel is a time for the whole family to get together and plan the week, talk about any grievances anyone has, and any special announcements that need to be made to the whole family. It is a time when the parents have the undivided attention of the children and vice-versa .
My husband’s family has seven kids, six boys and one girl. With all those kids all going different directions, my mother in law needed family counsel to keep her sanity. The kids were in charge of telling her when they had sports games or music concerts or whatever else they might be doing so she could know where she needed to be and when. If one of the kids forgot to mention something at family counsel, and it didn’t fit into the schedule, it didn’t happen, or that child would have to figure out how to make it happen on their own. I don’t think she was being mean by doing that, I think she was making her kids take responsibility for their own lives, which was a good thing.
Family counsel is also a good time to be open about any family problems. Maybe Timmy hates how Tommy won’t clean his half of the room. Maybe Sally and Suzie are having problems sharing the bathroom in the morning. These problems can be brought up during family counsel and brainstorming can be done to figure out how to solve the issues. Financial matters can also be discussed at this meeting.
There are a few things you can do to make your family counsel more effective. My advice is:
- Be consistent. Everyone needs to know the day and time that family counsel will be each week or month or however often you decide to have them.
- Have a family mission statement and go over it at each meeting.
- Be brief. Stick to the point so no one gets loses interest or gets off topic.
- Stick to an agenda. The agenda should be decided before hand by the parents.
- Avoid embarrassing certain children by bringing up sensitive issues.
- Ask for the input of everyone.
I was going to share an agenda with you all, but as I started to make it, I realized that each agenda must be determined by each family. But I know, as you prayerfully consider what it is that your family needs to discuss and how often you need to meet.
Family counsels can be a good help for couples who don’t have children as well. It may not need to be every week that you come together and discuss things, and it may not be as formal, but it will help you grow closer as you plan together.
If you’d like to read what the LDS church has to say about family counsels, click here.
Do you have family counsels? Do you have any tips on how to make them more effective?