A habit takes a while to create. Anger comes and goes. How do we keep the kids interested in journaling when the crisis has passed? Once they learn to use their coping skills, they might tuck journaling away for a “crisis only”. However, I ask most of my clients who are skilled in penmanship and verbalizing feelings to engaging in the practice of writing in a journal for as long as they are in therapy.
The minimum bar that I set is for them to rate themselves on a scale of 1-10 on the emotion that they are generally in treatment for. If it is anger, we would rate their ability to keep their cool on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the best, coolest they could be and 1 being a major melt down.
Sometimes you have to get creative and provide prompts to help them stay interested. You can encourage drawing, cartooning and creating a comic strip. Comics are very popular with the 5th/6th grade boys. Lots of explosions and magic weapons and surrealism. Fun stuff. Freeing for the mind. You might also implement a behavior modification program to help them make it a habit. (10 entries by our next session in two weeks earns you a prize from the treasure chest).