Ep 273: Lowering the Drama in Big Family Choices

Janice Fraser, author of Farther, Faster, and Far Less Drama, joins us to explain how families can have productive debates using decision-making frameworks that increase understanding between parents and teens.

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Full Show Notes

Big family decisions often come loaded with drama. Choosing a high school, making plans for college, or deciding on a family vacation can easily erupt into endless debates. Teens plead their case while parents grow frustrated - and no one feels heard. So how can families have productive talks that lead to real decisions instead of arguments?

This week we’re learning how better family decision-making can increase understanding and reduce drama at home. We’re joined by Janice Fraser, author of the new book Farther, Faster, and Far Less Drama: Make Better Decisions By Working Together.

As an executive coach and startup advisor focused on group decision-making, Janice has delivered workshops and coached teams around the world. She’s here to teach us how we can facilitate productive family meetings by reframing the way we look at big decisions.

Why Family Drama Builds

During adolescence, teens develop their own perspectives - but parents don’t always make space to hear them. Without a framework for discussion, family debates can spiral as power struggles emerge. Parents may value efficiency and feel that their experience gives them authority, while teens want to feel autonomy and self-direction.

To bridge this gap, Janice suggests focusing conversations around understanding rather than winning arguments. She explains that the real root of family drama lies in a values conflict, one that thoughtful discussion and compromise can usually resolve.

Outcomes Over Outputs

A key source of tension, Janice reveals, comes from parents and teens having different definitions of success. We often judge our kids by their outputs - their grades, achievements, sports records. But what teens really care about is meaningful outcomes that equip them for adulthood.

Janice suggests reframing family talks around the outcomes we want for our teens, like confidence, purpose and responsibility. If we make decisions based on what moves us towards those outcomes, we can avoid getting locked into one narrow path forward.

Tools To Organize Perspectives

Of course, gathering different viewpoints is easier said than done. Families need tools to structure productive debates. Janice details facilitation techniques she’s used at home, like writing discussion points on sticky notes before talking.

Organizing ideas visually allows equal participation, avoids dead-end arguments and identifies shared priorities. Janice explains how to use methods like 2x2 matrices to focus on urgent topics and depersonalize debates.

Modeling Conflict Resolution

Through thoughtful facilitation, parents can model critical thinking and conflict resolution - skills teens need to thrive as adults. Janice explains that by creating an open, understanding environment, parents show teens how to handle differences maturely in their own relationships.

Thoughtful family decision-making leads to better outcomes all around. Janice makes it clear that with the right tools, families can work together for everyone’s growth and success.

In the Episode...

My conversation with Janice was packed with insights on facilitating family harmony. We also discuss:
  • Why radical self-acceptance enables progress
  • How to balance participation and authority
  • Why the “right decision” mindset backfires
  • How to know when a debate should end
To learn more from Janice, visit janicefraser.com or find her on Instagram @janiceleefraser. As always, don’t forget to share and subscribe!

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Creators and Guests

Andy Earle
Andy Earle
Host of the Talking to Teens Podcast and founder of Write It Great
Janice Fraser
Janice Fraser
What's going wrong in your startup? How can I help? Ask a question and I'll do my best to answer it in 110 characters. No guarantees I'll be right!
Ep 273: Lowering the Drama in Big Family Choices
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