My Child Refuses to Write

Brave Writer

A Brave Writer parent asked what to do when her daughter refuses to write. Here was my response:

What would happen if she simply were asked to write each day by herself whatever came to mind in a notebook starting with one minute per day (that no one would read)? Could she get used to putting her thoughts on paper away from anyone’s eyes.

  • Start with 60 seconds a day. Increase when she starts to feel more comfortable.
  • Don’t read any of it.
  • Give her her favorite drink or shake to go with the writing time.
  • Let her use a good pen and a notebook of her choice.
  • Her only responsibility is to move her pen without anyone peering over her shoulder.

Do this for a semester, gradually increasing the time length according to her stamina. Your only task is to simply check in to see how it feels to do it. Perhaps once a week.

If she finds THIS difficult to do and won’t do it or can’t do it, let it go for now. You can simply say to her: “You are bright, intelligent, and insightful. I know when you’re ready to write you will.” You can then let her know that you will be available to support her when that time comes.

Damage is not overcome with pressure. So whatever damage is there, she will need to face it when she’s ready.

Another option is to sign up for our Brave Writer 101 class together. If she’s the kind of kid who would value having some support and insight into writing to help her (there are no grades), she may find that class particularly surprising and helpful. It’s not punitive in any way.

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