- Ask a question?
- Write down a feeling they are having?
- Write down an incident that they want to talk about?
- Vent about something.
- Write a concern they are having?
If there is something specific that you would like the kids to share their feelings about try giving them some words of expression they could use to help them write down their thoughts and feelings. When I went to judge a debate tournament the staff gave me a sheet of words that I could use to help me describe what I was watching. This is a similar situation. Our kids my know what they are feeling but struggle with the right words to express it. What I did for my kids with the divorce is I read some literature to them on some questions that they may be having. You can find it here. There are also other life trials that may cause you to be concerned about your child such as a death of a close family or friend, someone they know has a serious injury or illness, divorce, being bullied, or even when there is not a major change happening it is a good idea to check in with your kids to make sure they do not need to discuss something with you.
The first night we did this we talked about their feelings and they tore up the papers as a release and then we went out and punched the punching bag to help too. It was a very therapeutic time. The girls continued to use it for a couple days and now they tell me when they put something in there. It could become a part of the routine in the evening so that they can have a time to share those feelings that come up everyday. Do not forget to be patient and to not overreact to something you learn about. If you validate their feelings and help them navigate through them they will be more likely to tell you more things in the future. One of my daughters did not want to put something in the box the first night saying that she had already told me all of her feelings so I let her. Then the next night she asked if we were going to do it again because she put something in the box. Letting them express their feelings in their own time can help them feel less pressure to share and can actually cause them to open up faster than if you force them into opening up.