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There's No Wrong When You Write

We used to call them "diaries" but as with so many other things in the course of growth and change, these books for daily thoughts are now called "journals." Diaries were only for girls, with their locks for protection that could be easily opened with a bobby pin or letter opener by the truly curious.

Now that professionals have discovered that writing down our innermost feelings is therapeutic, journals are a suggested way of releasing tensions, hostility and everything else that can't be talked about with another person.

If you or your children have never kept a journal, now is a good time to start. Journals can be a spiral notebook or a three-ring binder - both are a good size for writing, doodling, jotting notes and actually writing something of importance. It's a perfect way for children to express their feelings of love, anger, confusion and grief. They often have difficulty articulating their thoughts and a journal gives them permission to "let it all out." Children should be assured that no one will ever read what they've written unless they have permission and that they can write whatever they want to. When a child writes in his journal, he's writing from his heart and what flows is truth for him. Prying eyes shouldn't diminish what is truth for him.

If a child can't seem to get started in his writing, give him several topics to "prime the pump"; such as:

*TODAY WASN'T SUCH A GOOD DAY. "
* TODAY WAS A GOOD DAY. "

Some families have a joint journal, that is, everyone writes in the same book. Parents are free to write their concerns or complaints about any other member of the family who also can write in reply. Each family agrees on the rules of the writings.