Jean Tracy

Article Summary:

A communication formula to use in and outside of family meetings to improve family communication skills.

Family Communication Skills and Family Meetings

Communication skills are essential if your family is going to hold family meetings. Do sarcasm, put-downs, and pouting keep you from holding family meetings? Do you want your kids to speak up, to listen, and to be respectful? Do you want them to become people of character?

In his book, Character Is Destiny, Senator John McCain said, "It is your character alone, that will make your life happy or unhappy...and you choose it." Parents, if you want your children to be happy, help them to choose character. The family meeting is an excellent tool to help them make that choice.

Perhaps, like other parents, you fear the battles that could occur during family meetings. Maybe you don't know how to teach your kids the skills they need. If so, this special communication formula is for you. It's as easy as one, two, three.

Communication Formula:

  1. When you...(Be specific about a behavior.)
  2. I feel...(Name a feeling like mad, upset, and angry.)
  3. I want you to...(Give a specific positive behavior.)

Use this communication formula with your kids and have them practice it with each other. Here are three examples.

1st Example(by an older sister)
1. Victor, when you're sarcastic with me,
2. I feel mad.
3. I want you to talk to me in a nicer voice.

2nd Example (by a parent)
1. Gretta, when you pout if I don't buy you a toy,
2. I feel upset with you.
3. I want you to take a "No" nicely and say, "OK Mom."

3rd Example (by a younger brother
1. Bubba, when you hit me and call me names,
2. I feel angry.
3. I want you to talk nicely and play fair with me.

At a time outside the family meeting, talk to your kids about this special formula. Post it on the refrigerator. When one is being sarcastic use the formula. When the other is pouting use the formula. When another is using put-downs use the formula. Teach them to use the formula too.

Practice! Practice! Practice!

When you hold family meetings the formula will be ready to use. You won't have to worry about your kids fighting with each other because they'll have the communication skills in place to use. They'll be expressing themselves effectively and building character too.

Jean Tracy - "Granny Jean" - graduated from Seattle University with a degree in Education. She taught elementary school in Washington, California, and Connecticut. Inspired by her desire to help the problem children in her classes, Jean returned to graduate school. She earned a Master's Degree in Social Work from Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania.

Upon returning to her home in Washington State, Jean worked as a probation officer and then developed a private counseling practice with families and children that spanned twenty-two years. During this time she achieved a Diplomate in Clinical Social Work.

For more information visit Granny Jean's website,

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