Teaching Writing: Out of Ideas

Moving into the role of being a guide and supporter
A Brave Writer mom asked what to do when her 12 year old daughter still doesn’t like writing after doing poetry teatime, art journaling, freewriting, and other fun, low stress activities.

Here are some suggestions:

She’s at the age where you can talk to her about her education. I would take her out for milkshakes and spend some time looking ahead to college, to adulthood. Ask her about her aspirations. Ask her how she envisions her future (she may not know, and that’s okay too!).

Let her know you want to move into the role of guide and strong supporter and not be the person who is going to “hold her feet to the fire.” Then discuss what it takes to get where she may want to go: college or some other type of schooling or trade preparation. Look at how writing may or may not fit into that. Ask her how she envisions getting the writing skills she needs to get where she wants to go. Then pause and wait to hear what she says.

Sometimes preteens and teens are so sure their parents will push them into what they don’t want to do, they keep resisting secure in the notion that they don’t have to ever engage their own wills. But you can “drop the rope” of this tug of war and gently, kindly put the pressure back on her. You want to let her know that you love her and will help her reach HER goals, but you aren’t going to fight about stuff.

You might ask her to do some of her own research about how writing fits into her future and find out how she may want to go about learning it. Tell her all options are on the table. And mean it.

Brave Writer's Help for High SchoolHelp for High School is a self-directed writing program for teens that both teaches rhetorical thinking in writing, as well as the academic essay formats for high school and college. Teens work independently of their parents, however models of completed assignments and rubrics for feedback are included, as well.

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