Keeping a Mother-Child Journal for Bonding
The bond between mother and child begins before your baby is born and it never ends. That said, as your child grows older, there may be times when you don’t communicate as well as you once did. As you and your child go through changes, it’s normal to feel like you are moving apart and closer at different points in life. I have three boys ranging in age from 9-14. So making sure that we are constantly finding ways to remain close is very important to me.
If you’re looking for some ways to re-solidify that mother-child bond, or to regain a bond that isn’t as strong as it once was, you might consider keeping a mother-child journal. This is a special book that you keep and write back and forth to one another. You can talk about anything, but it should be a place for sharing your thoughts, feelings, memories and other ideas. I got this idea years ago when I was a kid. I had a journal that I passed back and forth between my grandmother and myself. We shared stories, jokes, and thoughts. Then my mother started one with me and we would do a story. She would write part of the story, then I would write what happened next and so on. I wasn’t homeschooled, so this was a great way for both my Grandmother and my mom to facilitate a unique way to bond. So how to get started? What do you even need?
Here’s how you do it:
Begin with a special notebook or journal that you can dedicate to this purpose. It doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive (but it can be, if you want). You can start with a $1 composition notebook. When my mom and grandma and I had our journals, they were just cheap spiral bound notebooks from Hills Department store. They worked out perfectly fine.
You’ll need to explain to your child what the book is and how you plan to use it. You might write a very nice intro post, or a note inside and then also give it to them and tell them verbally what it is and how you plan to use it.
Create some ground rules from the beginning. What is allowed to be discussed in the journal? Who is allowed to see it? Do you both agree not to show it to anyone else? Make it a safe space and tell your child he can say anything he wants in this journal with you and will not be judged or punished for it. Often, children are able to write things that they could not say to you face to face.
Keep it fun. Do not use this journal as a place to scold or reprimand your child, to bring up things he did wrong that day, or talk about how you are disappointed. You should keep it fun and keep it positive. Your child can use it to talk to you about things he might not feel comfortable saying to your face (like maybe how he didn’t agree with that punishment you gave him yesterday) but you should never wield it as another tool to punish. As the parent, you already have the upper hand so don’t use this in that way.
Create some prompts to get you started. Your child may not know what to write in your mother-child journal, so you can help by including writing prompts, or starting conversations yourself that she can reply to. This will keep the flow going, especially if your child needs some time to get comfortable with the whole idea.
Now that you know how keeping a mother-child journal for bonding can help you, all that’s left is to get it started. When you introduce the journal to your child, be sure to make it very fun and exciting. This should always be a positive thing between the two of you. If you really enjoy it, you might find you continue this type of shared journaling for years to come. Some parents of older children will do it even after the child leaves home by turning it into email messaging or a private online journal that only the two of you can access. There sky is the limit and so is your imagination.