The Single Most Important Tool In Your Parenting Toolbox

I’ve heard it all. In my decades of helping parents, children and families around the world, I’ve heard every parenting concern in the book… and some that probably aren’t.

“My kid drags his feet anytime we have to go somewhere - and I spend an extra 30-60 minutes getting him out of the house every single day. I’m exhausted!”

“If I don’t give in to what she wants when she wants it, it’s temper tantrum city.”

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“He won’t take his face away from the tablet - it’s like we’re not even in the same room.”

“She comes home and throws her shoes and backpack wherever she wants and the mess just keeps growing from there. I feel like a maid!”

“There is literally nothing I can do to get him to do a chore. Begging, bribing, and punishments don’t work.”

“The only time they listen to me is when I’m red in the face and yelling myself hoarse.”

“She doesn’t take any responsibility for herself - if I didn’t manage her every move she wouldn’t do her homework, brush her teeth, bathe or clean her room. She’s completely incapable.”

“He doesn’t listen to me and I don’t even know who his friends are and I’m worried about the choices he’s making.”

“She won’t even talk to me about the stuff that really matters and I don’t know what her future will look like if she can’t get it together.”

“I can see 20 years in the future and in it… I don’t have a relationship with my kids and that is an absolutely terrifying possibility.”

It doesn’t matter how old your child is, you’re going to worry about your kid.

You’re going to worry about the kind of adult they’re growing into.

You’re probably feeling a bit responsible for the kind of adult they’re growing into.

And you’re wondering how you can get things back on track before it’s too late.

First - that makes you a good parent. Good parents care and good parents search for solutions.

Dad at picnic with children

Second - the solution is simple. So simple it’s just two words.

Family Meeting.

And while it’s difficult for me to choose just one parenting tool that’s my favorite, Family Meetings are as close to the top of the list as possible.

They’re an opportunity to build relationships, ensure solid communication, solve family problems, and develop so many life skills and values that will serve children for life.

And when you hold them weekly, the change you’ll see in your family is beyond compare.

In fact - One of my favorite stories is about a time my teenagers started complaining about family meetings and saying that they were stupid and lame.

My children loved family meetings when they were young. Then they hit their teenage years and started complaining (as teens do!). I asked them to humor me, and that we could shorten the time from 30 minutes to 15.

One day Mary, one of the complainers, spent the night at a friend’s house. The next day she announced, “That family is so screwed up. They should be having family meetings.”

And when she went off to college she initiated regular “family meetings” with her roommates. She said they would not have survived without them.

To put it simply: Family meetings are the cornerstone to effective communication and long-term success as a family unit.

The Family Meeting: Turning Your Family Into a Team and Building Bonds That Last a Lifetime

Family meetings are where your family communicates, intentionally and thoughtfully.

Where problems are addressed in a judgment-free zone.

Where celebrations and congratulations happen.

Where plans for success are made.

Where challenges are overcome.

Where you’ll solve problems in a cooperative way - allowing you and your children to place ownership where it belongs instead of you holding the success of your children squarely on your shoulders.

It’s where you transform from a me vs. them attitude to a team. Where you come together in a way that you don’t right now.

Where tempers are set aside and blame isn’t allowed.

Where the only focus is solutions.

That’s why the family meeting is the most powerful tool in your toolbox: because it gets your children involved in solving problems and encourages you to communicate and work together.

So you all benefit, week after week.

Why Getting Your Children Involved Works To Improve Behavior

The more involved in a solution or task your child is, the more ownership they have over it.

The more ownership they have, the more they engage with it. Which then increases ownership. And the cycle continues.

But what’s more: by allowing them to take this ownership and be a part of the solution, you’re helping them gain confidence in their abilities.

Boy loading the dishwasher

If the dirty dishes are left on the table and your child suggests the solution you use… how likely do you think it will be that your child fully participates in that solution?

And what’s more: how proud of themselves will they be because their solution is what’s working for their family?

How capable will they feel when their solution is effective? When the entire family has heard their idea, validated their thoughts, and implemented their suggestion?

By simply bringing the dirty dishes problem to the family meeting (instead of yelling or punishing your children when it happens)… you’ve helped empower your child to take control and responsibility over their own actions.

PLUS you’ve also modeled and trained your child in active problem solving: seeing a problem and working cooperatively to find a solution that works for everyone. Which means they may have to compromise.

In less than 30 minutes a week, you’ve helped your child build skills they’ll use for a lifetime:

  • Cooperation
  • Critical thinking
  • Brainstorming
  • Problem solving
  • Compromise
  • Accountability
  • Listening
  • Showing appreciation
  • Respecting differences
  • Focusing on solutions
  • And the list continues

And with family meetings, you’re achieving all of this together as a team. Which will carry through to the rest of your week as well.

How 30 Minutes a Week Creates Harmony For The Following 7 Days

When you think about how interpersonal relationships and communication works - even as adults - the positive or negative interactions you have carry with you.

If you have an argument or misunderstanding with someone at work, for instance - how likely are you to approach the next conversation with a negative outlook? Even if your next interaction with them isn’t at all related to your disagreement, you’re still likely to carry those negative feelings with you.

The same is true for the relationship between you and your children.

And family meetings are an excellent way to hit the reset button, build positive memories together, and celebrate together when you find a solution to a problem withOUT yelling or playing the blame game.

Your children will leave the family meeting feeling heard and like an important part of the family unit.

They’ll associate YOU with feeling empowered.

They’ll feel important and valuable.

And you will feel less stressed, more capable of managing your home, and excited about what you and your children can accomplish when you work together.

You’ll feel confident that you can overcome obstacles and behavioral issues.

You’ll feel more in tune with what’s happening in your child’s life.

And these positive associations you and your family have for one another will carry through to your interactions for the rest of the week. You’ll be faster to work together as a team, more able to communicate and compromise

And when something comes up - you can always invite them to discuss it at the next family meeting. Which means disagreements or challenges won’t escalate into arguments with your children because you’ll both know there’s a time and place to handle it withOUT spiraling emotions preventing effective solutions.

In short: family meetings are the simplest tool you can use to create harmony in your home.

Your Guide To Effective Family Meetings

Many parents have written to me with frustrations around implementing family meetings. Children who aren’t willing to participate, or distractions interrupting the brainstorming.

Even other behavioral issues like refusing to cooperate or having a tantrum when a suggestion isn’t used.

But family meetings are so critical to the overall success of your family that it’s worth taking the time to practice, train, and get them right.

That doesn’t mean you have to do it alone.

Because while I’m an expert in family meetings… that’s simply because I literally wrote the book on the subject. Which is why I’ve created a program designed to help you step-by-step through implementing the Family Meeting tool as well as 30+ additional parenting tools that will help you raise happy, successful children.

And what’s more - I’ve created this program with my family meeting fan herself, my daughter Mary Nelsen Tamborski.

Since that fateful day when she realized family meetings were valuable after watching the dysfunction at a friend’s house, she’s gone on to become a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with 3 boys of her own.

And yes, they have family meetings.

She works hands-on with families, children and parents to help build the kind of skills that we’ve put into this program…

But it’s through that hands-on work we realized that many parents need that step-by-step guidance in order to be successful with family meetings and the other tools that I teach.

Which is why we’ve come together to guide you through the process of understanding Positive Discipline and precisely how to use it in your family.

Because family meetings aren’t the only tool you’ll have at your disposal…

A Parenting Tool For Every Situation in Every Family

The foundation of my Positive Discipline method - used by millions of parents, teachers, childcare workers, social workers and more - is the suite of tools that will help you navigate any and every challenge or situation your family faces.

Your kid won’t do their chores? … There’s a tool for that.

Your first born keeps hitting his little sister? … There’s a tool for that.

You can’t get out the door on time and are always late for everything? … There’s a tool for that.

Bedtime takes hours?… There’s a tool for that.

Endless sibling bickering? Yup, you guessed it. There’s a tool for that, too

With over 30 parent-tested tools at your disposal, you’ll be armed for any curveball that comes your way.

And these tools don’t just work in the short term (though they do - you’ll be amazed at how fast harmony will be restored and you’ll enjoy your children again)…

These tools build skills for tomorrow.

They teach your children to build valuable skills and beliefs that will help them:

  • Know how to solve problems and handle conflict effectively and without drama, martyrdom, or escalation
  • Instill a strong moral and ethical compass that isn’t vulnerable to peer pressure, risky decision making, or social vampires
  • Develop the ever-critical problem solving skills needed to respond to the unexpected twists and turns of life
  • Learn resiliency and to trust themselves, their judgment and their abilities

In other words, these tools become the foundation of a happy home today, and a thriving life tomorrow.

And Mary and I will be there guiding you every step of the way to help you create the harmony in your home that you’ve been seeking.

Positive Discipline Made Easy: The Last Parenting Guide You’ll Ever Need

We wanted to make it easy for you to learn, understand, and USE Positive Discipline in your family right away… without having to connect the dots by yourself, figure out how to make it work for you, and second-guess yourself.

We’ll show you exactly what you can use to handle each situation, and how it has played out using real-life examples and stories.

We’ll not only review the theory so you understand WHY it’s important to handle each situation in a specific way… but we’re giving you the actual step-by-step tool to help you make it happen in your family.

The best part about these tools is that they are mix & match. Because you’ll naturally find tools that feel good to you - every parent has their favorites. And every situation has at least one tool - but most have multiple tools that you can use to change the behavior AND strengthen the relationship between you and your child.

But each and every tool begins with: The Family Meeting.

So of course we’ll walk you through step-by-step not only how to structure the family meeting, but how to implement it directly into your family. Week by week, no matter how old they are or what your relationship is like right now.

So you’ll feel empowered, excited, and energized to get started right away.

Get All 30+ Tools

In this 6-module course, we’ll not only give you the tools, we’ll also:

  • Share real-life stories that show you the Positive Discipline tools in action
  • Break each one down step-by-step so you can understand exactly how to make them happen
  • Give you imagination exercises to help you live in your children’s shoes so you can get a deeper understanding of what they’re thinking and feeling
  • Provide reference sheets, tool tips, exercises and child psychology information that will help you truly use this method in your every day life
  • Walk you through exercises that you’ll do right along with us in your very own workbook that when finished will become your own personal reference manual for parenting

PLUS we’ve polled the audience and created a Q&A session based on REAL questions from REAL parents - so you’ll feel completely confident using each tool to handle those inevitable curveballs that your children will (sometimes gleefully) throw your way.

  • In the middle of a supermarket temper tantrum…
  • When you’re frazzled and overwhelmed…
  • During those times when your child just. won’t. listen.
  • When you’ve had a long day and you just want peace in your home.
Mother child splashing in pool

These tools will reshape your relationship with your child, make your household the smoothest it’s ever been, and remind you just how much you love being a parent.

And while family meetings are a focal point of ensuring that you and your entire household is on the same page…

It’s the other 30+ tools that will truly make the rest of the week better, easier, happier and less stressful than ever before.

All the while helping your children continue to develop those critical life skills AND build a closer relationship with you.

Happy, empowered kids along with a harmonious, loving family.

What more could you ask for?

I can’t wait to help you thrive.


Jane Nelsen

Parent Without Yelling, Power Struggles and Guilt

  • Critical skills to raise happy, healthy kids
  • Make parenting the most fun you’ve ever had
  • Ensure your kids feel loved, accepted and understood
  • Co-parenting secrets to help your kids thrive
  • Common parenting mistakes you must avoid
  • Less tantrums and tears, more snuggles and laughter

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