Every parent wants their kids to lead a happier, easier life than they did. This has been a consistent wish of parents for generations. The simple truth is that life is not easy. Mishaps happen. Kids pass and fail exams, they fall down and break bones, shoes and socks go missing, they get bullied at school, and so on.
Social media has been a blessing and a curse. Social media has caused children to expect instant information at the flick of their wrist. This expectation has resulted in extreme frustration if the internet slows down. They get angry if they don’t get results within a certain time frame. Waiting in line for more than five minutes makes them irritated. Patience seems to be a thing of the past.
For many children, there is little time for them to just be alone with their thoughts. Often, children have organized activities after school such as hockey, baseball practice, gymnastics, or swimming. Exercise is a great way for kids to stay in shape, but after school activities reduce the time it takes for homework to get done, or just to have some quiet time.
What can children do when they feel that life overwhelms them?
Wouldn’t it be great if kids and parents alike had a strategy that they could use once, twice, or three times a day to reduce their stress and frustration level?
Have you ever heard of expressive writing?¹
Would you like to try it right now? All you need is a pencil or a pen and some paper.
Find a quiet place to sit down where you won’t be disturbed.
- Write whatever comes to mind. Write as fast as you can.
- Allow the pen to fly across the paper.
- Do not ‘dot’ your ‘i’s or cross your ‘t’s’.
- Scribbling is definitely permitted. This is for your eyes only. No one is going to read what you’ve written, especially if your writing is illegible.
- You want your thoughts to pour onto the paper without any restrictions.
- You are allowing all the stress associated with frustrating thoughts to be released from your body and flow onto the paper.
- You will know when to stop writing as you begin to feel better.
- Crumple up the paper(s) when you’ve finished and throw them away.
How do you or your child feel after using the writing technique? Have fun with it. Use colored paper or colored pens. See how fast your child can write. Make it a pleasant way to release stress. Celebrate afterward. We are so good at looking after our bodies, sometimes we forget to look after our minds.
The beauty of this technique is that it is easy to do. It does not cost very much, and it does not take a lot of time. Whenever you feel that your child is overwhelmed or you have reached a boiling point, take a moment and use this expressive writing technique.
You have just taught your child a skill that they may use for the rest of their lives.