I’m sure a lot of us kept diaries when we were kids. The trope of the angsty youngster pouring out their heart into the pages of their diary is a well-established one, for good reason. Whether we used our diaries to complain about our parents, bewail our unrequited crushes, or (as a couple of girls at my school did - to mixed effect…) leave them ‘casually’ lying around in the hope that a specific target would read the ‘secrets’ within, journaling was something that many of us undertook with gusto.
Nowadays, however, journaling is falling out of favor with the younger generation. This is partly due to the rise of social media. Daily posts and status updates have taken the place of diary entries. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing on some levels, it’s a real shame that journaling is increasingly being pushed out of children’s lives. Why? Because journaling can be very good indeed for young people - in a way that social media simply cannot.
So, what can journaling do for your child?
•Journaling allows children to express their innermost thoughts. Doesn’t social media do the same? Well, sort of, but not in the same way. The average social media post is calculated to get a reaction from or pass information to one’s social circle. With a journal entry, however, the child can express their innermost thoughts and feelings without fear of the kind of censure or judgment which can occur on social media.
•Journaling helps to develop creativity, providing a place to experiment with language styles.
•By allowing them to express themselves freely, journaling helps children to get to know themselves a little more - to develop that all-important self-knowledge which we all need to be happy and fulfilled.
•As they record the world around them and their experiences with it, journaling can help children to develop observational skills, and perceptive intuition.
•By providing something to look back on - a record of past successes and mistakes - journaling may also teach kids when to trust their intuition, and when to go with their rational judgment.
•Journaling is cathartic - an excellent way to process and eradicate negative emotions. Not for nothing is journaling used as a form of therapy in the mental health fields!
So, while it’s not for everyone, it might be worth buying your child a journal this Christmas.