There is nothing more affirming than telling, feeling and talking about your life story in a safe space.
Read the example book below and if your appetite is whetted, scroll right down for more thoughts and look at Pinterest below for inspiration!
A life story book can be a powerful way to celebrate the individuality of your child not only in the present but in the future too. They may return to it for sustenance. They will be curious when older to find out what they felt, thought, drew, liked, enjoyed and sang! It can be a fun way for you and your child to spend time together. The Life Story Pack offers you further help if you want it.
It can also be a sensitive way to broach subjects that you know you need to explore but have not ever found the right time to even begin and somehow the time just keeps passing! Life story creations offer children the chance to address feelings and memories that they have buried away. These can haunt them instead coming out as troublesome behaviour either to themselves or others. The creation process offers children the chance to voice the unsaid and in doing so create distance from the power of unvisited areas. A new understanding which may change their internal self blaming story, may arise in the company of a parent or somebody who loves and knows them well. If you don’t feel comfortable about embarking on this with your child, do seek further support to explore what is stopping you from sharing the complex or disturbing issue or facts in their background. It is here that therapeutic support could be helpful for yourself or indeed even for your child. I have enclosed a list of organisations that can put you in touch with counsellors or therapists in the Life Story Pack. There are also links in this pack to books, websites and organisations of repute that offer further advice on sharing topics that concern you. You may find this site about bringing up confident children and approaching challenging subjects helpful: www.understandingchildhood.net
The process of creating a book can lead to a child who feels less burdened by invisible weights and whose overall demeanour is happier. A sense of relief may be apparent to the whole family. It does take time, energy and effort but this is an investment worth making in terms of it’s potential to be life enhancing and confidence generating.
Life story work gives you ‘special time’ with your child and you should find ideas on this website and in the pack which will help you in creating the structure to make a finished product. This product could be an online creation [power point template is good] or a folder where loose leaf pages can be added or removed or a book. This book can be in any form you feel fits for you and your child. The importance to your child of the finished creation, will show itself over time. It can be the means by which your child returns to reflect and focus on happenings and achievements. They may use I films or other apps to create stories within their story. See this example of how a pet whippet can tell an online story: https://youtu.be/WUE00t_F92o
You may find it has a securing and settling effect on your child in future turbulent times. It will for a life time be a wonderful way of viewing how your child experienced himself at the time of the creation of the book. Most importantly it is your child’s book so they can find amusement and value in their life whether in the present or looking back as adults.
The term ‘life story work’ is usually associated with social workers and children but in recent years it has become something that adopters are mindful of and often wonder what part they should take in the creation of a book. The book which passes on the social work perspectives on the family of origin and the story of why they came into care. Modern day adopters know of their responsibility to share the reasons why their child was adopted over time and it is their judgement of what and when to share that is crucial to the child’s understanding of this important story. By 18 years old the child has the legal right to read all the relevant official documentation on them concerning the circumstances that led to their adoption. There are adoption support agencies and services out there to help with this challenge. These PDF’s contain suggestions for conversations that might take place in gently exploring the child’s feelings and thoughts on the common causes for domestic adoptions. These conversations are not one off events but are likely to take place over time. Adopters know that children naturally create stories of their own to fill the gaps. Children may have non-verbal memories and feelings which have informed their internal narrative as to why there has been loss in their life. A healthy exploration at the child’s own pace in a trusting atmosphere may allow for a loosening of tension around the stories that informed their early life. Creating or looking through a life story book can be an intrinsic part of the process. I hope that this site can stimulate ideas for expanding on the original book so that other stories in a child’s life are brought in with all their potential to bring positivity and celebrate all that is life enhancing.
This PDF has suggestions for conversations about being adopted, the death of a birth parent, relinquished children, learning difficulties and disabilities, and unknown fathers.
This PDF has suggestions for discussing mental health including Anxiety, Bi-polar disorder, Depression, Personality Disorder, and Schizophrenia
This PDF covers self harm and harm to others. It includes Alcoholism, Drug Abuse, Domestic Violence and Suicide.
This PDF covers abuse and includes Emotional Abuse, Neglect, Physical Abuse and Sexual Abuse.