Reread Journals, Talking With Parents, & Regular Vs. Health Journal

An Interview With The Author Of Digging Deep

Digging Deep
Digging Deep. Sherri Brisson

 I have recently become very interested in how health journaling might improve your child's asthma and asthma control. During my research I cam across a wonderful book called Digging Deep. I believe this journal is a great entre into learning more about how asthma impacts your adolescent or pre-adolescent with asthma and could become a regular part of your asthma action plan.

We often have no idea about how a chronic illness impacts our kids.

Unless your adolescent is different than mine, I have a  really hard time getting more than a yes no answer out of my son. An asthma journal provides your child the opportunity to write about how asthma impacts their life and even find some of the answers for themself.

Digging Deep can lead your child with a chronic illness down a road of self discovery leading to better asthma control. Check out the answers to the questions below that I asked one of the authors Sherri Brisson.

Is it important for a child to go back and read their journal? If so, is there an optimal time frame?

Rereading is something journal writers do naturally, Children are very proud of their story, and rereading their entries can be very empowering.  Through the process of rereading, a young person’s thoughts and feelings are reflected back to them, and they may have insights that they may not have gained through the process of introspection itself.

Even rereading journal entries months or years later can help a young person realize what they were feeling at the time, and perhaps how far they have come.  This gives them a sense of mastery and boosts their self-esteem.

You say on your website you say "Resist the urge to read your child’s journal. Usually she or he will want to share, in her or his own time.” What do you suggest in terms of process or how to get your child started? I am not sure I could convince my 12 year old to participate in this activity without making it seem like an English assignment. 

First, we’ve tried to make Digging Deep as warm and inviting as possible by filing it with beautiful art work, half of which was created by children.  Although it teaches important concepts to help the young person process what is going on for them, the language of Digging Deep is sensitive and friendly.  The topics are very much ”in tune” with what these young people are experiencing.  We have found that kids and teens love using Digging Deep.

Our journal is not something that a young person needs to start at the beginning and work through the end.  They can start on a page for which the art appeals to them or they can find a question that resonates with them and start there.

Knowing that illness is only one part of who that child is, we have also included uplifting and general questions that the kids love to answer, which helps them get started.

Kids feel empowered when they realize that they already have the answers inside.  This feeling of empowerment motivates them to continue.  As feelings are released, kids and teens may experience feeling better emotionally, which encourages them to keep writing.

Is there a difference between journaling about health topic and the practice of keeping a journal for other reasons? Should a health journal be separate from a “regular journal".

The concept and process are very much the same.  The difference between our journal and other journals are that the writing prompts are specifically tailored to the needs of young people grappling with health challenges. Digging Deep is one tool which makes journaling inviting as the pages are not simply blank white pages, which can be both threatening and difficult for young people. The art inspires the feelings to come and makes it easier to begin writing.

Digging Deep helps conversations happen that might not otherwise.  Issues and feelings can be talked about using the exercises as a launching point, without worrying bout how to bring these important conversations up.  Digging Deep can even be done in pairs, with the child with illness telling the story and their support person being their scribe, writing down the story.  In this way our journal becomes more interactive than the typical diary.

If you are having trouble getting started journaling for asthma I have created a number of tips to help you get started.


1. Interview with Sherri Brisson

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