Parenting Tip: Shared Journals
Tip Tuesday – Mom Wisdom
What’s the Problem?
Young children are transparent. They make their needs known – sometimes loudly. They ask endless questions – giving you a glimpse into their thought process. Random observations and statements allow you the opportunity to clear up misconceptions about the world.
Then they enter the pre-teen years and learn to self-edit.
As kids get older, they become aware of themselves and how other people respond to them. Self-control is a good thing – we all know adults that say whatever comes to mind – and it’s not pretty.
But for a parent, losing our front row seat to our child’s inner world can be bittersweet.
There’s a solution.
Simply, a shared journal is a notebook you take turns writing entries in.
At our house, shared journals started out as a thinly disguised academic exercise. I had a child that needed more practice putting sentences together, and journaling seemed like a low commitment way to get her to write more.
After the first entries, I realized the deeper value.
She was willing to write things, vulnerable things, which her reticent personality wouldn’t allow her to say out loud.
I was able to allay fears I didn’t know she had. More than once she expressed guilt that wasn’t hers to own. The permanency of words on paper gave my affirmations and encouragement more weight.
Pick out a notebook that you will enjoy using.
Start by writing a letter to your child, expressing your love and something you value about them.
Keep your entries short. It will encourage both you to write more often.
Get both parents in on the act, if appropriate.
Don’t worry if weeks go by without an entry. Just pick up the journal and start a new thread of conversation.
Date every entry.
Give shared journaling a try and see if it improves communication between you and your child.