Family Meetings the Love and Logic Way
by BRES Counselors
Amy Cunningham and Robin Vaneman,
And GWU Counseling Intern
What is our goal today?
• To develop a basic understanding or review of the
Love and Logic philosophy.
• To identify common styles of parenting.
• Explore a new parenting style and ideas for
dealing with common problems.
• Gain knowledge to help you develop a plan for
using Love and Logic to help with your children.
• Provide you with resources for further study and
Why Love and Logic?
• Love and Logic is a philosophy developed by
Jim Fay and Foster W. Cline, M.D.
• The basic belief in Love and Logic parenting is
that “Love allows children to grow through
their mistakes. Logic allows them to live with
the consequences of their choices.”
• Goal of Love and Logic is to teach children
4 Principles of Love and Logic
1. Shared Control
2. Shared Thinking and Decision-Making
3. Equal Shares of Consequences and Empathy
4. Maintaining the Child’s Self-Concept
Three Parenting Styles
Two Common Styles
Helicopters Drill Sergeants
• Hovers and Rescues • Barks orders
• Makes excuses for child • Makes lots of demands
• Protects the child from • Uses punishment
natural consequences • Uses pain and
• Uses guilt as the humiliation as the
• Know how to “zip their lips.”
• Willing to share alternative solutions to
problems and how they would solve the
problem – if it were their problem.
• Give kids choices within limits.
• Allow natural consequences to occur.
• Impose logical consequences with EMPATHY.
Empathy is the Key
•We don’t get angry.
•We don’t riddle them with I-told-you-so’s.
•We don’t lecture.
•We avoid power struggles.
• “Probably so.”
• “What a bummer. How sad.”
• “I know.”
• “Nice Try.”
• “Don’t worry about it now.”
• “I’m not sure how to react to that. I’ll have to get back to you on it.”
• “Really? I know you, and I’m sure you’ll come up with something.”
• “That’s terrible. How are you going to handle it?”
• “You must feel awful. What can you do?
• “Hm-m-m, that’s really an interesting way of looking at it. Let me know how
that turns out.”
• “Wow, what a mess. Let me know what you come up with.”
“The one-liners are only effective when said with genuine compassion and
Consequences – Natural and Logical
• Imposing natural consequences takes “guts” and can be hard
to do, especially when it causes our children to suffer.
• Consequences can be delayed. It is ok to take time to think
about a logical consequence. It gives our kids time to think
• Logical consequences must “fit the crime.”
A family meeting is a structured discussion time that typically
involves all members of a family. Family meetings should be
regularly scheduled (for example once a week). Special
meetings can be called to discuss an important issue that
cannot wait until the next regularly scheduled meeting.
Family meetings help busy families stay connected. Other
benefits of this simple tool are improved communication,
self-esteem, emotional support and problem solving.
Time Required: At first, it is usually best to keep family meetings
short - about 15 minutes. As families get better at communication
and decision-making, the meeting times can be lengthened. Set a
scheduled time for meetings, post it where everyone will see, and
keep the time. If parents are committed to the project, it will have
1. Parent(s) decide together to begin holding family meetings.
2. Tell children that you will begin holding family meetings to talk
about what's going on in everyone's life.
3. Let everyone decide together when and where to hold
4. Mom and/or Dad should be the co-moderators for meetings at
the beginning. Share the moderator duties with children as
you go along.
5. At the first meeting remind everyone to contribute to the
conversation, listen to others, and be supportive not critical.
6. Parents listen for and acknowledge the feelings that are
expressed, ask open-ended questions to clarify the problem,
and then brainstorm solutions with the entire family.
Remember to talk one at a time and not interrupt others. A
good tool to use is a ball or something to pass around to
indicate who is talking.
7. Use the "Go Around" method. Go around the circle giving each
family member the opportunity to respond to the topic.
8. Go Around Topic 1 - Something that made you feel good this
9. Parents offer praise, encouragement, and support for the good
things that each person mentions.
10. Go Around Topic 2 - Something that bothered you this week.
11. Go Around Topic 3 - Something that you want to work on or
accomplish next week.
12. Parents model making an action plan and help children set a
specific goal to continue positive experiences or address
problems identified this week.
13. Go Around Topic 4 - Your schedule for the week. What
meetings, appointments, tests, special events or projects you
have this week.
14. Parents identify any scheduling conflicts and plan the week’s
schedule. Model good time management. Discussing only
problems, chores, or gripes will cause family members to lose
interest. Include positive mention of family members'
contributions or achievements.
1. Ground rules. At the first family meeting there
should be a discussion of the ground rules of
family meetings. Some good ground rules to
establish are discussing only one topic at a time,
not moving on to another topic until everyone
agrees to do so, taking turns speaking, no putting
other people down, and no fighting or arguing.
Discussing only problems, chores, or gripes will
cause family members to lose interest. Include
positive mention of family members' contributions
2. People Problem Solving STAR. Use the schools People
Problem Solving STAR to help your child solve conflicts on
their own. Here at school we ask the students to try 2-3
things before coming to an adult. Family meetings should be
used to teach problem solving skills to children. For each
problem, families should begin by trying to clearly define
exactly what the problem is. Then they should try to generate
a list of possible solutions. Families should try not to
evaluate potential solutions until the list is complete. When
the list of solutions is complete families should go through
the list and evaluate the positive and negative aspects of
each solution. Then families should try to reach a consensus
on the best solution for all involved
3. Chores. The way your family handles chores can help
your child learn to work in a group or as a team. Your family is
a team. Discuss chores and list what needs to be done and
when. Have your child pick a chore they don’t mind doing but
they may also get some they don’t like. Also working on a
project together can encourage responsibility. Working in the
kitchen, one child can set the table, one fix the drinks, while
4. Consensus. Important decisions are often made during
family meetings. It is best for families to strive for consensus
(agreement of all members) when decisions are being made. If
consensus is not reached and the issue being voted on is not one
that must be decided immediately, it can be put aside and voted
on at the next family meeting. However, there will be times when
certain decisions cannot be put off and consensus has not been
reached (for example, where to go on this week's family outing). In
such instances, a popular vote can be taken.
5. Fun Activity. Make the meetings fun too. Tell a story or a joke,
play games, have contests. Families can plan some fun activity
to take place at the end of each family meeting, such as playing
a game together. This way, each family meeting will end on a
Family meetings can be a very effective way of improving
communication within a family. Parents as well as children
will benefit from having a regularly scheduled time to get
together and discuss issues that are important to the