I Have Weekly Family Meetings With My Children—Here’s How It’s Beneficial!

Looking for increased peace and well-being in your household? Consider adding family meetings to your wellness routine.  

Farissa Knox, President of COACT Agency
Photo courtesy of Farissa Knox

In the past year, I’ve separated from my children’s father, sold our home, moved with my two adolescent children (8 and 11), and started a new job after 15+ years of everything being on autopilot. 

With so many life changes, my daily life feels like a constant balance of maintaining a routine and preparing for the unexpected. These days, it seems like there have been more “unexpected” moments than balance. 

Photo courtesy of Farissa Knox

As a single mom, there have been days when I’ve felt the ground underneath my feet feel weak. However, what keeps me motivated is reminding myself that how I handle this season of change will have a direct impact on how my children and I enter the next phase in our lives. 

Opening Up The Door For Communication

Every parent knows how difficult it is to capture their children’s attention as they get older. It’s even harder to get them to sit down and share details about what they are doing, thinking, and feeling. 

So, how do you get them to open up and share these inner thoughts and feelings? According to the experts, it starts with having genuine conversations.

In one of my sessions with my therapist discussing this very thing, the idea of holding a weekly family meeting was born. She described it as an opportunity for everyone— mommy included— to take turns sharing and talking about the things that are going on in our lives: friends, feelings, fears, and frustrations. 

Farissa Knox
Photo courtesy of Farissa Knox

Weekly Family Meetings: My Experience

It’s been a couple months since we’ve started holding family meetings, and some have gone better than others. 

When we first started our weekly meetings, it was slow and brutal. It was mostly me sharing my personal thoughts/feelings and them making jokes. However, once they realized I was serious and we were here to do something good and helpful, it started to take shape. 

I had to mirror the type of sharing I wanted them to reflect. In addition to sharing myself, I asked specific questions like: “What makes you happy? What are things you wish you could say without getting in trouble? And how can mommy be a better mommy to you right now?”

Farissa Knox
Photo courtesy of Farissa Knox

Creating A Safe Space

Much like any family therapy session, creating a safe space has been a learning curve. Since we’ve started, I’ve had to learn to listen and accept the things that may be hard for me to swallow while still holding a safe space for them to share without fear of being shut down or scolded. 

It was in one of these family meetings where I learned that my 8-year-old sometimes feels that even though I am physically with her, there are times that it feels like I am far away and focused on other things. 

It took everything in me to not cut her off midsentence and list all the things I am trying to solve on a regular basis as a single mom, creative, and leader at work. Instead, I listened and humbly accepted her truth. 

After that exchange, I couldn’t help but be proud of both of us— her for being brave enough to share and me for being strong enough to hear. It felt like one step closer to wellness.

Editor’s Note: This story has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Farissa Knox is an author, producer, and 20-year marketing executive who began her career in media, selling advertising space across television and radio in Washington DC, Richmond, and New York City. This foundation honed her sales skills and understanding of media, and human motivation.

Knox is currently the President of COACT Agency, a creative and digital marketing firm. Residing in Chicago's Lakeview with her two daughters, the philanthropist serves on nonprofit boards including the Joffrey Ballet, Cause Strategy Partners, Mikva Challenge, and True Chicago.