I've been journaling for so long and have found such benefit from it that it's hard for me to put into words just why I advocate for it so much.
I've accumulated a list of articles on journaling here that will give you a good sense of what the benefits look like if you take on journaling.
I will add that if you decide to teach your kids about journaling or keeping a diary, be sure to keep your sticky fingers off. Even if they write terrible stories about being your child, they need a safe space to feel those feelings.
Don't take it personally, they're learning to sort those expressions and experiences from each other. Children struggle to find meaning in their own lives. Just like we cannot know what goes on when we drop our kids off at school because we are not around, what they journal is still only part of the picture.
A parent coming in, reading their diary or journal, and then judging them while telling them what they ought to feel is unhealthy and crosses many boundaries. Further it teaches your children (whether you mean it to or not,) that they cannot trust you to honour their privacy or their personal space. If they cannot feel safe writing their truth in the real world in their own room in their own home, this will lead to mental health struggles in diverse forms depending on other risk factors.
I'm not a therapist, a teacher, or child specialist but I was a child myself. I was a teen, a youth, and I have experience growing up in a family that didn't always honour my privacy. You see, I often snooped, but I'd never read a diary. I was usually after Christmas presents; I was a curious child. Older kids or adults invading my space and a journal that my own mother promised me would be safe from reading was eventually read aloud to my whole family, in front of me and visiting friends.
This was a routine thing. After the third time I learned my lesson and stopped trusting that anything I brought or kept at home was safe. Eh, I'm a slow social learner. Don't hate me. Friends didn't really understand or experienced the same.
Naturally I entered a rebellious period where I wrote anything and everything to offend whoever it would be that would read or see my stuff. Then I hit puberty and basically started drawing my own porn which was excessively hilarious and easy to find. I just kept doing it until - surprise, that's all they would look for. Heh.
I found my own ways of existing. I found my own ways of expressing myself within the confines of certain expectations - mainly influenced by the Catholic and French ideologies of my family and my Dad who was the epitome of the settler northern culture here with his protestant work-ethic. I began to see changes in the communities we went to by taking the most mundane descriptions of things...but when I look back now, these daily things seem far more interesting than whatever emotional angst my hormones were flinging around.
I went through periods of loneliness where I would sit and hide in my closet because it was the only place I could pretend not to exist, daydream quietly, and sometimes actually fall asleep. It's probably why so much of my clothing was under my bed than on the floor in my closet. It's also the place where blankets were when my mother couldn't find them. I figured at the end of all of our lives, when we'd sit adjacent in the afterlife, they would understand that I needed that blanket just then. Fabrics and textiles comforted me and my appropriation of certain blankets when I left the family house was a natural escalation of my juvenile emotional coping mechanisms.
Those blankets, one just a fuzzy flannel flat sheet I loved, were emotional journals for me too. One blanket I have my mom made when I was in University. I used it one day during exam week and the heaviness of the blanket just soothed my fraying nerves. That weight is it's crowning glory. I slept with it this week. It's like a weighted blanket for people who didn't know they needed a weighted blanket. It was an accidental ah-ha! moment.
It was falling apart at one point and My mom fixed it though. I think that I want to start attaching patches that I've collected to it but now I can attach them artfully instead of practically. :) Yay! Thanks Mom.
This blanket is basically a physical journal. Some of my patches are as old as I am and will look good on this blanket. Some are brand new and symbolize the life I am now building. I think this upholstery-level weight blanket (it's mostly denim and canvas) is the perfect canvas for this project, it's tough enough that it won't tear or rip or let go of the patches but its' colours are neutral enough that they're the perfect background to any kind of patches. Embroidery thread is so fun and colourful, and it's been ages since I embroidered. Don't judge me when I share. #pictures2come
I love you folks and I want you to know that you can find a safe space to journal if you don't have one right now. I will tell you how #staytuned
For more on attachment parenting: Visit the Canadian Psychological Association's website Here.