In one-week, this Just Between Us Journal has already changed my relationship with my daughter.
Raising teenage daughters is hard. I know — we've currently got two under our roof. Sometimes things roll smoothly, and other times I find myself asking, "Why won't they talk to me?"
I stumbled upon Just Between Us: A No-Stress, No-Rules Journal for Girls and Their Moms while doing some shopping at Barnes & Nobel. The intro of the book caught my attention, the author Meredith Jacobs writes:
So much is happening to girls at this age. And, unfortunately it's happening so much faster than it used to. Sometimes [my daughter] seems so mature and confident, I forget everything she's navigating. I'm reminded that she's still young girl trying to understand her physical and emotional changes when I read an entry in which she asks about something I know she'd be too embarrassed to say -- and absolutely mortified to have to listen to my answer. Writing makes it easier to broach some topics -- but I have found once we've "talked" on paper, continuing the conversation in person is comfortable.
As moms of teens, we need to pause and consider, "Did she stopped talking to me because she's not sure how to comfortably open up to me?" Sometimes old ways of communicating (like face-to-face chats) need to be worked up to during these formative years.
If you're not sure how to communicate with your teenage daughter lately, this mother-daughter journal is a great tool. When you talk to your daughter in a way she feels comfortable with, well, even the most reluctant teen will open up. In other words, this Just Between Us Journal helps your tween or teen to speak up about things that are heavy on their hearts.
I cannot even begin to tell you how well this mother-daughter journal has worked so far. If you check out the book on Amazon, you'll learn that it is full of teen speak and unique conversation topics:
This journal includes writing prompts to help get the conversation going, plus fun ideas for making lists and drawing pictures. There's also plenty of free space for writing about day-to-day experiences and whatever's on your minds -- and two ribbons for marketing your places.
I bought two of these Just Between Us Journals, one for each of my girls as tweens. I loved the idea of having mother-journal prompts to help get us started. I thought I was proactive in getting this journal. When we got started, I assumed we'd kick it off with filling in some of the playful fill-in-the-blank prompts. I couldn't have been more taken back by what my girls wrote with their first entries.
At nine and eleven, my girls already have weighty topics on their hearts. One of my daughter's had been privately holding onto a heavy school situation that just took my breath away. Being able to write the story and get it all out seemed to alleviate a huge amount of stress for her.
Since that experience, I've been sharing this Just Between Us Journal with every mom I chat with...
So many things are changing with our girls right now. We need to find ways to keep the lines of communication open as we head into these transition years. Our girls need us more now than ever.
Getting Started with Your Just Between Us Journal — How to Talk More With Your Daughter
I want you to begin your mother-daughter journal experience on the right foot. Here's how we got started using our Just Between Us Journal:
1. Plan a special mother-daughter date with your daughter. My little lady and I headed to Big Water Coffee (in our favorite place -- Bayfield) and ordered hot cocoa, coffee, and a treat. The goal of this private date? To sit down and talk about how this whole mother-daughter journal would work. It may seem unnecessary to have this chat but to ensure success; you need to make sure you're on the same page.
2. Find a cozy corner and read the intro to the book together ... out loud. In the intro of the journal, you'll find two important sections: A Mother's Perspective (mom-to-mom talk) and the A Daughter's Perspective (teen speak). Both helped us immediately see each other's point of view and opened the doors of communication. This was beyond helpful in getting the conversation rolling.
Quick tip: Being a reader or a listener for too long can lead to a wandering mind. We took turns reading every other page to ensure we were both engaged.
Without having read these two intro sections together (and out loud), I genuinely do not believe we'd have had such a strong start to our journaling relationship. Again, this section seems like a lot considering journaling feels intuitive. The point is to slow down and show your daughter your commitment to her and your mother-daughter relationship. Don't skip this getting started stuff!
3. Hammer out the details. The intro to Just Between Us: A No-Stress, No-Rules Journal for Girls and Their Moms also provides a tips section on logistics that you'll need to agree upon when starting your mother-daughter journal:
- Who is allowed to see this book?
- How will you pass the journal back and forth?
- When can you expect a response?
- How are you going to address each other?
- What are you going to use to write with?
4. Perhaps the most crucial aspect of the book is discussing the suggested guidelines below with your daughter. If you want your Just Between Us Journal to be successful, you'll need to both follow these (sometimes challenging) guidelines and build a sense of trust.
5. Make it playful. This mother-daughter journal doesn't have to be just about teen angst. There are many relationship building activities, and fun prompts too. After our mother-daughter coffee date, we went to the store and bought a few special colored pens for journaling. Simply having special pens, made the experience more meaningful to the girls. Sometimes in life, it is the little details that matter the most.
The experience since our original date to start the Just Between Us Journal has been eye-opening, wonderful, and at times overwhelming. The first night, one of my daughters wrote an eight-page entry. She had so much weighing on her. I didn't realize how many grown-up thoughts were going on in my little ladies' minds. I am so thankful to have a tool to comfortably discuss these topics with my girls and occasionally take some of our chats off the page, into our day-to-day conversations, and allow her to open up to me.
In the intro of the book, Jacobs writes:
I think journaling is especially important as we both become busier. The time we have to sit and talk becomes less and less each year. And yet, as she moves further into the her teenage years, I need her to know that she will always have a way of communicating with me.
I couldn't agree more. I am so thankful for stumbling upon Just Between Us: A No-Stress, No-Rules Journal for Girls and Their Moms. I just had to share with you.
As we continue forward, we might eventually move on to using a more traditional blank journal for writing. That being said, having Just Between Us Journal as a getting started guide to help us through this getting-started process has been priceless. If you have any questions about the book or our experience with the mother-daughter journal so far, please don't hesitate to ask questions in the comments.
P.S. I also wanted to take a moment to share this with you...
FREE Webinar: Get Your Tween to Listen Without Nagging or Yelling
During the webinar parents of kids ages three through teens will learn...
- Why punishments and "because I said so" backfire. If these strategies aren't working for you...take heart. It's not you and it's not your kids. You'll learn what works instead!
- How YOUR personality may fuel power struggles with your kids! Yikes. This is a big aha! for parents. Discover if your personality lends itself to power struggles and why.
- The 5 R's of Fair & Effective CONSEQUENCES — Discover how to structure CONSEQUENCES so kids listen the first time you ask!
If you take the webinar, pop over to Facebook and let me know what you think!
UPDATE: Quite a few people on Facebook asked about a mother-son journal. A few parents have recommended this particular one: Between Mom and Me. Pop over to Amazon (4.5 out of 5 stars) and read a few of the reviews moms have left about the journal.
The book description reads:
This engaging prompt journal is the perfect tool to strengthen your mother-son relationship. Record memories together, swap stories, compare perspectives and explore common and unique interests. Letters back and forth and interactive lists invite you both to reflect, write and doodle about topics timely to your life as he builds self-confidence and improves his penmanship. Let master storycatcher Katie Clemons help your son unearth the power of his story and best of all . . . Discover a great bond with his mom.
I also thought I'd share a couple parenting books on my library list too. I'd love to know if you've read any of them already or if you have more suggestions for me. Let's chat in the comments.
- Mothering and Daughtering: Keeping Your Bond Strong Through the Teen Years -- 4.9 out of 5 Stars on Amazon | Read Book Description
- Your Daughter's Bedroom: Insights for Raising Confident Women -- 4.9 out of 5 Stars on Amazon | Read Full Book Description
- Surviving Ophelia: Mothers Share Their Wisdom in Navigating the Tumultuous Teenage Years -- 4.3 out of 5 Stars on Amazon | Read Full Book Description
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”