March 21, 2013

Family meetings

We had our first of what we hope to be many family meetings a few weeks ago. The topics to be discussed were: 1) who gets to blow out the candle at the end of dinner; and 2) how we treat friends and how we like to be treated by friends.
Family meetings are, apparently, a good tool to introduce into families when a child is about four, because at that age they are interested in problem solving. And it's true, Eliot is frequently coming up with solutions to problems he sees. For example, "Well, I could leave my new froggy toy here instead of bringing it to Juliet's house so that Juliet won't hide it under the couch. That's a good solution!" I love it when he comes up with his own solutions.
I put a notepad on our fridge where we can write down agenda items for the next family meeting. I put down the candle thing because the boys keep arguing about who gets to blow it out at the end of the meal. And I wrote down friendship, because Eliot is saying things like, "You're not my friend anymore!" when he is mad.
So we came up with a solution to the candle (they will take turns, as they do with everything, based on whether it is an odd day or even calendar day; Eliot has even days because he was born on an even day, and Silas has odd days because he was born on an odd day). And then Brady and I started off the friend topic by discussing what we like about our friends, how we like to be treated by friends, and how we like to treat friends. Like, "My best friends are the ones that I know will always love me." Or, "I like it when my friends say nice things to me, like telling me that they are happy to see me." I can't remember what else we said. In the moment, I thought we did pretty well. Then Eliot wanted to go and he said, "I like rainbows. ... And I really like it when we see a rainbow, and we get our of the car and look at it." And Brady and I smiled and said, "Ok, your turn Silas." And I can't remember what Silas said, but it was something like, "I like pears."
And then we quickly adjourned the meeting and moved on.
This weekend's agenda item: Who gets to set the table before dinner? When do they set it? What if they don't set it before dinner is ready and mama sets it instead? Does one person get to put down the forks and the other person the spoons? Ad nauseum... as you can tell, we are having many disputes about setting the table at dinner time. I thought it would be a fun thing to introduce, but it has turned into a nightmare.

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