Your teen can significantly benefit from putting pen on paper – literally or with the use of technology such as tablets. Encouraging your teenager to try journaling may help them navigate through what could be the most tumultuous years of every person’s life.
The Teen Years
If life is likened to weather, teenage years are perhaps the stormiest phase.
The transitional years from childhood to adulthood are not easy to go through. With the physical changes tweens [preteens] and teens experience come the awareness that their bodies are changing and are doing so fast [or slow if they’re late bloomers]. At the same time, they want to explore their growing bodies and consequently compare the changes they undergo and see to that of their friends.
These changes affect their emotions. How fast [or slow] they grow and go through the development that comes along with this growth can cause them to feel awkward, confused, anxious, and most of all self-conscious. Being teased or bullied about how rapid or dawdling their growth is could also cause them to feel sensitive and lose self-esteem.
It’s not unusual for parents to feel worried about their teenagers when they’re in this phase. The latter are tight-lipped about their issues in life to grown-ups with some choosing to confide to their friends who are undergoing the same changes and are as confused as they are.
If you’re one of these concerned parents, you can connect with your teen and help make sense of his/her rapidly changing, and growing world is to introduce him/her to the joys of journaling.
Journaling: Why It Helps
Journaling is writing your thoughts out with the use of a pen and paper or any similar device. Below are just four of the many benefits your teen can get from making journaling a habit:
- Journaling is a form of expression and gives teens the freedom to express themselves the way they want to.
Most teenagers are uncomfortable opening up to other people about how they feel, especially grown-ups. Journaling gives them an outlet to the emotions that, if not released, would just be bottled up inside them.
One good thing about writing things is that when they’re once on paper, they start to make sense. Teens may feel conflicting emotions and are at a loss on how to describe these jumbled thoughts and feelings they’re jotted down.
- Journaling keeps track of their progress.
No matter how a journal is done, it’s always a window to its owner’s past.
By keeping a journal, teens can have something to look back to, see how far they’ve gone and marked the milestones they’ve made in their lives.
The fun of backreading journals is summed up by this journal writer’s comment:
“I couldn’t help but laugh after reading the entries I made after my first romantic heartbreak. To my 14-year-old self, it was as if the world is ending. Reading what I’ve written now, well, it just makes me feel childish.”
- Journaling can help teens figure out who they are and who they want to be.
Being in a sort of limbo between childhood and adulthood can be very confusing to teenagers. This confusion manifests itself through the identity crisis, acting out and rebellion. Writing whatever is on their mind out significantly helps teens to figure out what they want their lives to be and what path they want to tread on.
Besides, some of the world’s most exceptional and most successful individuals are known to keep journals [even Arnold Schwarzenegger held one of his bodybuilding goals!].
- Journaling serves as a lifeline especially for teens undergoing therapy of some kind.
Writing can be a form of therapy much like art and music is. For teenagers going through difficult circumstances or going through treatments, journaling is one fantastic way to communicate with their inner selves and make sense of the thoughts and the emotions they could be feeling but are just too shy to voice out to their therapists. They will know the comfort of writing whatever they have in mind down without prying eyes to see or listening ears to here – just them and their private thoughts.
Parents, it is crucial for you to stress this out to your teen and yourselves [when you feel you need to step in your kid’s journaling habits]:
THEY CAN DO THEIR JOURNALS HOWEVER THEY WANT TO DO IT. If they want it to catalog their days like a diary, so be it. If they’re going to express themselves through drawings and illustrations, then, okay. Their journaling habits don’t have to follow the norm, be smart or even be brilliant. As long as they can genuinely call it theirs then, that’s fine.