This blog was written by one of our Family Therapists at Teen Treatment Center.
The foundation of all family bonding starts with effective communication. Your family may say, “We talk all of the time.” You may have plenty of opportunities to talk on car rides from school or in the living room watching TV, but when do you really dedicate all of your attention and energy to one another? To achieve this, it may take scheduling a time when there will not be any distractions or demands from your environment.
Particularly in early recovery, families benefit from scheduled time to check-in with one another. This time together provides family members with the opportunity to express any feelings and emotions that have occurred during their week. You may have noticed before that troubling events and negative emotions built up which would result in explosions of anger and arguments. Like water on a stove, taking the lid off and letting some steam out will prevent the pot from boiling over.
Families that have an open forum to express their feelings effectively will benefit by having less arguments and healthier communication amongst each other. Experts in the field of family therapy suggest scheduling meetings once a week at a time when all family members will have 1-2 hours to dedicate their attention to one another.
Tips for an Effective Family Meeting:
- Refrain from using judgements, assumptions, blame and “you” statements
- Turn all electronics off and leave them in another room
- Host the meeting in a neutral and productive environment that is free from distractions
- Prepare an agenda with input from each family member
- Give everyone a chance to talk without interruptions
- Take a 10min break if emotional and ineffective communication persists
- If individuals are raising their voices, judging, making assumptions or blaming, pause the meeting and come back when everyone is calm
Topics for Discussion:
- Recognizing achievements
- Praise for following expectations
- Giving pre-determined rewards for following expectations
- Your schedules for the upcoming week
- Assessing school progress and chore completion
- Struggles with expectations: process feelings, validate, then evaluate possible solutions
At Teen Treatment Center, we highly recommend setting time aside each week for family meetings once your child returns home. Feel free to reach out to one of our family therapists for more information, and we hope to see you at the next Family Support Group.
All family support groups are held virtually from 6-7 pm EST. Click here for Teen Treatment Center's upcoming event schedule.
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