While growing up, kids will experience at one time or another fear of the future, of failing, of losing a loved one, etc. Children need to know how to deal with these fears if not overcome them. While therapy and medication are two useful ways to help children overcome these types of issues, other solutions for dealing with fear are available to parents.
Journaling is a great tool to help children deal with fear, and it has been found to be very helpful for kids who need a safe, effective and efficient means to express and process difficult emotions. A journal becomes the space and place where a child may release difficult emotions instead of keeping them stuffed inside.
Helping kids to express their fears with journal keeping has been proven to be helpful for overcoming the worst of these emotions. When a child practices journaling, she is able to record her feelings about events in her life and work. When using a journal to work through fear, a child is using her creativity and self-expression through writing to free herself from it.
Journals help children to explore fearful emotions and to access solutions that just might help them to overcome the fears they are facing. By recording her fearful feelings, various rational ways may arise in which a child can possibly overcome them. So, instead of a child addressing her fears from her emotional center she is now addressing them through her creative center. This often leads to a child feeling more empowered and capable of dealing with difficult emotions successfully and maybe even overcoming them altogether.
JOURNAL REFLECTION AND ANALYSIS
Of course when a child feels afraid they always feel emotional. But it is what the child does to settle those emotions down that is important. This is where analysis within the journal comes into play.
It’s interesting when writing about what frightens us, most of what scares a child is embedded in her subconscious either due to a past or current event that has or continues to strongly affect her life. Problems arise for children if they do not deal with these types of negative experiences and address them.
If left unattended, fears will often control us and the way we function every day but when they are dealt with the results can be much more positive. For example, from writing in a journal a child can discover and realize that her fears aren’t really that at all, rather they are illusions or irrational concepts in her mind that need to be released. The simple act of looking directly at fears is often enough to release them. An added benefit to her journaling is that she just might become inspired to express herself in other artistic mediums using her journal as a basis or outline to help construct innovative ideas for dealing with difficult emotions.
Whenever a child starts journaling about those life issues that scare, intimidate or frighten her, it is best to free write about her thoughts and feeling and to “let her pen loose”. In other words, encourage your child to write whatever comes to her mind and to not censor herself. Quite the opposite, instruct her to write until she cannot write any longer.
After the child has journaled for a bit ask her to go back and look over what she has written. Have her explore her feelings and answer the following questions:
- Have my fears changed from before I wrote in the journal?
- Is there a difference in how I feel about my fearful feelings?
- Has my fear been overcome or does it persist?
- Did I discover any solutions to overcoming my fears while writing in my journal?
- If my fearful feelings persist who can I ask for help in dealing with them?
If the child has not processed her negative emotions to satisfaction, a parent should encourage the child to continue writing about her fearful thoughts and feelings. Remember, with journaling a child is allowed and encouraged to write as much as she wants and needs for as long as she wants. This is just one of the reasons that makes journal keeping so therapeutic and life-changing for so many children, especially in overcoming fears.