One of the longest-lasting suggestions that has come from classes that has worked for parents to communicate with one of their teens has been using a journal. You know those journals…the books with a variety of covers and lots of empty pages inside.
My friend, Robyn, suggested this idea and she explained to our class how it could be used as an extra tool to communicate with a teen , especially when talking might not be that easy. Almost every mom I have shared this idea with has been eager to give it a try.
Here’s the way it works. On the front page of an empty journal write your daughter or son a note, explaining how you and she or he can use it together. You might say something like,
“Dear Missy, I found this journal just for you and I to share together. We can take turns writing in it. Sometimes you may have something you want to say to me but you want to write your thoughts or feelings rather than talk. You can tell me anything you’d like me to know or understand, and when you are done, please place our journal on the pillow on my bed and there I’ll see it. After reading it I will write you back and place the journal on your pillow on your bed. That is where you will see it and know that I have read your note . This way we can always have a way to “talk” even when we might not feel like talking. It will be private and just between you and me.
I love you, sweet girl. You are so special to me. Mom”
The journal is meant to be a way for you to encourage, to “listen”, to teach, reassure, etc. , always staying positive and not using it to say negative words. It is a way to keep the lines of communication open.
One of my daughters and I filled two journals in the space of several years, probably when she was ages 12-14 or older. She now has those journals and inside them she will always be able to read from me words of encouragement and understanding.
Remember that every teen is different and that some will really go for this and use it and others may not take to it as eagerly. That’s ok. It’s still worth a try. It’s an idea.
I’ll have more things to say about the journal later. For now, this is enough for you to get started using one with your own teen.