Healing Kids Heal: Changing the Story
Does your child have a lot of emotions? Do they carry around the anxiety of the world? Maybe they are just natural born worriers. I know my oldest is definitely one of those. She carries around all the stressors of the world on top of her very tiny shoulders. Here are some simple techniques you can use to help your kids heal while processing and releasing memories and emotions that have left them with heavy hearts.
Change the story
Some children love telling stories, whether it is verbal or written. A memory is a story and every story can be rewritten. Did you know that our brains can easily change a memory into something bigger, this usually happens through fear, or it can change it into something smaller, through creative healing and retelling of a story.
What to do:
- First, begin with the original story. Patiently give your child time to share and process what has happened. The more he/she talks about it, the better. Sharing is important. If you find it hard to get your kids to tell you what is going on in their life you can simply ask them to “Tell me the story about today.”
- Next, you want to make it easy for a child to share the original story. I can be shared in many ways like drawing a picture, acting it out with puppets or toys, recreating the scene with clay or play dough, talking it through or writing it out.
- Be a good listener. When hearing your child’s story, it is important not to judge or make critical comments. This is a time for you to listen.
- When you feel that the story has been fully expressed, ask your child “What would you have liked to happen INSTEAD?” Listen and give suggestions if they are having trouble coming up with a happy ending.
- Tell the new story! Once you have brainstormed and found a satisfying ending, then take your child on your lap and tell them the new story.
By telling a new story, you have changed the neurological connections in your child’s brain. It is quite powerful. This technique is used in child abuse healing circles and domestic trauma centers. It is important for children to experience their lives and learn from these experiences. But when they are suffering from anxiety these tools can help them forgive the past and move forward to a healthy future. These techniques can help empower them in situations where they have felt powerless.
Let us know:
Did you find this post helpful? Were you able to help your child’s memories of a bad experience or anxiety? Let us know in the comments below.
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