Write Diaries for Your Children
The Wishing Well
Expectant or Adoptive Parents
The Wishing Well: Sit down in a comfortable place, open your child’s diary, write the date, and imagine yourself pitching 3 pennies into your magic wishing well. What three wishes would you wish for the child coming into your life? If they are metaphorical or symbolic rather than real or concrete things, that’s fine – imaginative language can be revealing and inspirational. Do these wishes have to do with the present, the near future, or the distant future? Write to your child about the three wishes and reflect on why you wish these things.
Inner Circle: Each of us has an inner circle of people close to us in our
lives whom we interact with regularly and from whom we draw support. Who’s in your child’s inner circle? Open your child’s diary, date the page, and write to your child about who these people or animals, friends and relatives are that form the child’s circle of support. Is there a day care provider you can describe for your child? A family pet who keeps an eye on him or her? Siblings? A neighbor? Describe a few of these circle members and show how and what they provide for your baby. As you write and reflect, you may become aware that there is someone missing. Mention this to your child, and think about how you might help your child fill that space in the future. Is there someone who lives far away who participates in the inner circle via phone, letters, e-mail or gifts?
“Come Close!” “Go Away! Every parent eventually has the experience of feeling pushed away and pulled closer by a child who is going through a growth spurt or entering a new phase of development, whether it’s learning to walk or starting school. Pay attention to your child’s reaction to you over a couple of days. Is your child rejecting help with something she always expected you to do for her? Is she clinging the next moment in a situation she previously approached independently? Sit down, open your child’s diary, and date the page. Tell your child a story about the “come close/go away” phenomenon you are observing. See if there is a humorous or light angle to approach this entry from. Are you finding yourself clinging and rejecting in return? Reflect on what changes in your child might be prompting this ambivalence toward you. Reflect on what changes your child’s changing may be prompting in you.
Parents of Teens
Shared Activity: Sit down in a quiet moment and open your child’s diary. List three things you did with your teen in the past week that didn’t involve you doing something for him or her, but rather with him or her. Watch a TV show? Chat at breakfast? Play tennis? Attend a sporting event? Even if the this shared activity didn’t go perfectly, reflect on a pleasurable aspect of one of these encounters and write to your child about it.
Milestones: June is bursting with end of year activities for the grandchildren. You may attend at least one of these events, whether it’s graduating from pre-school, high school, college, or attending a dance recital or sporting event. Open your grandchild’s diary and describe this event from your point of view. Tell your grandchild what you observed, how you felt. What did this event remind you of from your own life? Was there someone special there to observe you during your milestone or achievement? If so, describe this person. What was going on in the country or the world then? Is there any perspective your age and experience has brought you that you can share with your grandchild?
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