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January 2010
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Trying to figure it out

Problem:
Gleek often reacts without thinking. Sadness and loneliness get expressed as contrariness and anger. As a result Gleek commonly discovers that she has just done a mildly bad thing and wishes she had not done it. This leads her to feel bad about herself.

Analysis:
Much of her impulsive bad choices are driven by tangled up feelings that she carries inside without sorting through. I need to give her tools for sorting through her feelings. In past years I’ve tried to make space to be her emotional sounding board, but what she really needs is something that does not depend upon me being available. She has lately shown an interest in journal writing.

Solution Attempt to address the issue: Each night before she reads in bed, I’m going to have her write a journal entry. She can write down all her feelings both positive and negative. Then when I come to tuck her in for the night, she can tell me about what she wrote.

Results so far: We’re two days in. The journal was filling up with angsty sadness. I was concerned that re-reading all the sadness would convince her that her life really is horrible, so I have added the requirement that each entry should have at least one happy thing in it. Her days really do have more happiness than sadness. I’m not sure whether the codicil is necessary. Writing the emotions down seems to allow her to let go of them. She is much calmer after writing a lament.

Additional plans: I need to enroll her in either dance or gymnastics. She needs to have something in her life on which she can focus surplus energy.

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