02 For Parents

Writing Diaries for Your Children

by Kelly DuMar, M.Ed.

For Parents

Expectant or Adoptive Parents

As a mother in a recent workshop shared, sometimes the child we are expecting is not our first, but our second or third. Perhaps the enthusiasm about welcoming this new baby is dimmed by the moment-to-moment care taking requirements of the children already very actively in your life at home. Is there an entry you can write to this newest child that reaches around the chaos to put your finger on a moment of intimacy where you can focus on the one-to-one relationship with this future child?

New Parents

Diary writing to our children builds a bridge across the normal and exceptional separations we may experience with our baby, whether it’s an absence of a few hours, a few days, or more. Write an entry to your child while you are away from your child – at work, at play, on a vacation or day off, or during a separation such as a temporary or permanent loss of custody or a hospital stay. Tell your child what you miss about being with her or him in this moment, today. Tell your child what you hope to be able to say or do upon your return.

Experienced Parents

Siblings bless and curse each other. They will remember the curses without any help from us. But, they need to hear and attend to the blessings, and since we sometimes have a shorter memory for the positive things others say about us, we can help them remember that their relationship is grounded on love by listening for those times when they say something positive to each other. And write down the blessing in an entry, saving it for a time when they (or we) may really need to see proof of it later on.

Parents of Teens

How does your teen ask you for nurturing? Does she or he ask in a different language than she or he did at 1, or 5, or 10? Are you as attuned to your teen’s requests for nurturing as you were when she or he was younger? Is there a different quality to the nurturing you have to offer him or her today? Write an entry reflecting on how your teen asks for nurturing today versus in earlier stages of life. Similarities? Contrasts?

Grandparents

Imagine yourself reversing roles with your grandchild, and looking out through his or her eyes, at you. Write an entry from this grandchild’s point of view as if the child were introducing you to his or her friends. This is my grandma/grandpa _____________. She/He is _____________________. Don’t think about it – just put the pen on the blank page and write freely and spontaneously in the child’s words and see what surprises may be in store for you.

Read this month’s Diary Story Excerpt, an example of “The Poetry of Everyday Life” diary story in the “Share a Diary Story Parenting Gallery” at http://www.diarydoor.com today. It’s an example of how brief a powerful entry worth saving can be.
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Visit the website at http://diarydoor.typepad.com/