3. Family Meetings - Communication and Fun
Having family meetings can be a spontaneous and fun thing to do with the family. I suggest that you have two primary reasons to have a family meeting: to have some fun with the family and to talk to each other. The primary reason for a family meeting should not be to sort out a disciple problem or to establish rules. Try to have a family meeting on a regular basis and plan for it. A family meeting is a time to communicate and to spend quality time with your children. You should never hold a family meeting when you are angry. As a parent your should decide on the things that you are going to do before the meeting such as a game, special snack and discussion topics. Remember that the children want to say something also, so let them have a turn at talking about their day or whatever. Primarily, you want your children to look forward to family meetings. In our 4, 5 & 6 grade Sunday School class, we would always have a game, sometimes a craft and then the lesson. The challenge is that they learn something in the class (i.e., they listened to you!). You always try to establish fun as a reason for the children to come back and look forward to it. You hope the same for the family meeting. You want them to listen to you and learn something. Besides your living room or kitchen, try other meeting places, such as snack at McDonalds, or a picnic at the park. Family meetings shape family behavior and are a forum where family communication and empathy can be improved.
Once you have family meetings as something they look forward to and establish rapport and improve communication with your children, you can get down to establishing empathy and understanding of family morals and values. These areas will be discussed in sections 5 and 6. You will eventually set your family rules at the family meeting, but before that occurs you should understand the reasonable expectations of your children, which will be presented in Section 4. If you start your parental involvement in the pre-teens , it will be easier to continue it during the teen years although there will be some resistance from the teens. This will be natural and you should change your family meetings to accommodate these changes. Don't give up! For example, the teens may not want to play games anymore, so come up with something else that is more challenging such as a scavenger hunt where you provide a clue to the next location and at the end there is a prize waiting such $5 or $10 or something special to the teen.
Parental involvement and communication in the pre-teen and teenage years is a major influence in helping teens avoid risks such as smoking, drinking, drug use, sexual activity, violence, and suicide attempts, while increasing high educational achievement and other accomplishments.  For many families, eating dinner together and having family meetings on a routine basis can be an important way for children and parents to maintain a connection. Significant differences were noted between teens who eat dinner with their parents at least five times a week and those who do not. Similarly, significant differences were found for teens who reported feeling “close” to their mother and/or father and those who did not. These results persist after taking account of differences in teens’ gender, poverty status, and family structure. Develop a good family meeting routine while the children are young so it will be a family tradition when they do become older.
 "TEENS AND THEIR PARENTS IN THE 21ST CENTURY: AN EXAMINATION OF TRENDS IN TEEN BEHAVIOR AND THE ROLE OF PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT", https://clinton3.nara.gov/WH/EOP/CEA/html/Teens_Paper_Final.pdf