How do you get your child to open up more

How do you get your child to open up more they keep everything inside

@JuneLadden I have struggled with this with my three girls. Each one of them has different ways to communicate their feelings. My middle one is definitely hard to get things out of. She bottles it up so much that it affects her body. We have had to coach her through releasing some of that. One thing that I do is I will sit at the foot of her bed and ask her how her day was. She typically will shut down if it was one of “those” days. So I will call her out on it. Not in a mean way, but in a “now you know that this isn’t completely true… what’s bothering you?” She will still bottle it up. We remind her that her feelings are valid and that bottling it up makes her feel petty rotten but when she opens up that she will feel better. She may let out a sentence. That’s an open door. “so…” and follow it up with a question of interest. I am not counseling her, I am not telling her what to do, but I am having a conversation with her to help her open up. About 85% of the time, she starts a word vomit and talks for 30 mins straight. It doesn’t always happen. Sometimes she still shuts down. I let her know that it is alright and that we understand.

My wife also has a notebook for each of them in her drawer. They come in a write down their thoughts/feelings and she will respond to them. There’s no judgment. Nothing is off limits and they know it. We aren’t perfect at it but this has worked so far for us.

Have you considered starting them on journaling? Even if they are young, they can draw - you can get them a book with blank pages and crayons - children often draw what they are unable to express. If you have pets, I have also seen where reading to them can help them develop confidence. Another idea is to interact with them doing activities of their choosing and develop a conversation mixing various things but not making anything too heavy or focused - give them the opportunity to drive the direction.

Thank you so much for your wonderful ideas
June

Let us know how things go and if you come across other things that help. Every person is unique and there isn’t a one size fits all fix. Patience, love and understanding go a long way.

I will keep you posted
Thank you
June

Thank you that is great advice

I have to agree with the journaling stuff. My 9yr old girl is a competitive gymnast and people pleaser so she always says EVERYTHING is good even when we can tell it is not. She is easily emotional like her momma and doesn’t like to cry in front of anyone even is bc she says it makes her feel weak. So we gave her a journal and a Diary and told her that the journal is to share how she’s feeling with us and the diary is for her to keep her private emotions and that she’s not willing to share with us at that point it has helped her tremendously

@Mherrin831 great to hear that the journal is helping. I know that gymnastics can be really difficult when it comes to the pressure of expressing emotion - a lot of high level gymnasts have opened up about just that - Katlyn Ohashi is a big advocate of mental health for gymnasts and other athletes - I’m sure you are familiar with her - she started writing poetry to work through some of her feelings.

@pattianne yes I know of her and E has actually met her and did a camp with her. I think all our amazing gymnast speaking up and sharing helps these littles. My daughter is a level 7 and she just turned 9… all her teammates are 12+ so there isn’t a lot in common