The Family Annual Review : It Worked For Us

The Annual Review always surprises me…pleasantly. Yes! My kids DO notice and value many of the mundane efforts I feel get taken for granted. And my children give me such wise advice…the stuff I am telling them to do! It’s humbling yet encouraging. Obviously they see the benefit of these principles if they’re teaching it to me.  Read our family's "Best Of's"...unless you can't wait to discover the Family Annual Review

“Best of” Recollections
- "Mom, I like our family outings." I almost fell off my chair. The kids are SO difficult to motivate for a visit…yet once we’re out, we do have fun. This feedback gave me the energy boost to try again. Check out our family outing organization tips (inspired by the three wise men).

- "Keep praying for us when we go to bed.” It’s part of our bedtime routine. During our pre-prayer prep, I recognize what a child has done well and address some sensitive issues. This encouragement and discipline conducted in a calm and loving setting smoothes out many of the day’s rough moments. (Read My Best New Behavioral Habit.) My prayers reflect our discussion. “Lord, thank you for my son’s ability to guard his tongue when he was provoked.

- "Thanks for making our friends feel welcome at home.” “Darling, it’s a pleasure.” My kids friends teach me about my children and about their world. It’s win-win. Click to discover our kids through their friends..

- “You’re OK when you admit your mistakes.”  Note my messy eating on the photo, and their good humor.

"Best of” Lessons for Parents
- "When you get angry, go to your room to calm down.”
- "Be specific about what we did wrong and what you want us to do.”
- "Stop thinking the big guys are always wrong when there’s a fight with the two little boys.”
- "Give me more allowance for my social life.”

"Best of” Tips
- Ask the questions so that the kids see the benefit. “What do I do well that YOU want me to continue doing?” I want the affirmation; they want the perpetuated benefit. It’s a win-win answer.

- Let the kids know you’ll listen to them. The first year, the boys “evaluated” me and I "only" listened. The second year I had "earned the confience" to give feedback too.

- Record the responses. I missed writing them down immediately and only one week later had to ask the kids to remind me of their responses! How can they take my jobs for them seriously when I forget the ones they gave me?

- Include young kids. Our 7 year old (3rd child of 4) requested to participate the first year. The following year, we invited the 6 year old to join in. He asked me to stop making lemon cakes. What a thrill to know that I could please him so easily! Even now, when I bake cakes for him, I present them saying, “No lemons!”It’s our code language to assure him I listen.

- Keep it simple. One year we included four items: 1. what we do well , 2. something new we should do, 3. something we should change, and 4. something we should stop. The answers were insightful, but the pleasure in following through was diminished. It seemed like a “To Do List To Be Perfect.” We’re not seeking perfection but more love. We’ve returned to the basic questions (n°1 & 3).

- Welcome enthusiasm or ambivalence from your spouse. My husband observes us. That’s fine. I love him the way he is…and thank him for loving me the way I am. Just do it!

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Comments
1. On Tuesday, January 27 2009, 15:23 by Carrie

Thanks Denise! We tried this out the other night and it was both constructive and entertaining. To keep things light I started by guessing what he'd like me to do differently in 2009 -- have his pipe and slippers ready when he comes home, learn how to cook not just defrost, etc. He's too nice of a guy to ask me to change without an activity like this that makes the information welcome. I think this is a great opportunity to give each other a gift that really matters -- changing something about ourselves to prove our love for one another. Thanks, and now off to buy a pipe and slippers...

2. On Saturday, January 31 2009, 16:58 by Scott

Denise,

Thanks for the encouragement to do the Family Annual Review. It was definitely a worthwhile, if humbling, experience. As one metrics guru put it, "That which is not measured will not improve." I think it was healthy for our kids to have another opportunity to speak their minds and give input into how we're doing as a family and what they need more of and less of from mom and dad. The key now is to follow through with positive response, and to provide ongoing communication opportunities to share how life is going and how we can be a more loving, caring, character-building, Christ-following family. We might do this on a more regular basis, say at least quarterly!

Thanks again, Viva la Family!

Scott

3. On Saturday, December 17 2011, 18:42 by deniseD

After having shared with the kids the things they did well, I gave them each a "job for the new year," something to change.  For our youngest, who cannot wait to hear the end of an instruction, the job was to say, "Yes, Mom."  This would mean that he would have to wait until I had finished my sentence!

The older boys protested that this job was way to easy, the youngest is the family pet, etc.  So I offered to give them the same job too.  "Well, no thanks."  When they thought about it, it's an effort!

This job has been great for our relationship.  Should our son start contesting an instruction in the middle, I remind him "Yes, Mom."  He is welcome to express disagreement with me, but there is a time for everything.  The time to say he is not happy about a certain instruction is not when I am giving it.  He can tell me afterwards, when the tension is down and when it's obvious that he is sincere and not merely lazy!

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