‘Make a story’ – I play this game quite often with the kids who are brought to me for treatment. I encounter so many children with different personalities; some very talkative, some shy, some very hyper, some calm and so on. But, one thing which acts as an ice-breaker for me in striking conversation with the children is ‘Story-telling’. Kids love listening to stories and creating their own stories. Given a chance, every child will come up with so many stories of their own, we won’t require any storybooks. Kids can create their own stories depicting different emotions and they are so interesting, you will wonder how can a child so small think so much! Their world is full of fantasies, metaphors and creativity. And, you can enter their world through their stories.
When a child tells you a story, there are so many elements in the story. If we listen to them properly, they tell us a lot about their deepest fears, their strengths, their weaknesses, their love, their hatred and so many different emotions. Also, you must have observed that even if you have told many stories to your kid but he/she will love only one or two and will tell you to repeat it again and again. They won’t get tired of listening to that one particular story. If you tell 10 children same 10 stories, every child will love different story. Even if two children like same story, when you will ask them which part of the story they loved the most – the answers will be different.
Which story does your child love?
Which part or character of the story the child loves?
Which situation/ incidence of the story affects the child?
Which character your child relates to the most?
Answers to all these questions will bring you closer to your child. Not only stories but the kind of movies/cartoons/programs the child watches, speaks about his/her personality too.
How to use stories to know and educate your child?
Make a random story with him/her: Play this story game with your child. You make a story and tell the child to make a story. Discuss about this story and the qualities of the lead character of his/her story because most of the times, lead character of the story is closest to child’s personality. Whatever affects the lead character, whatever the lead character does and the personality of the lead character depicts child’s deepest psyche.
Palpating specific emotions in child through stories: Fear, anger, joy, surprise, disgust, sadness and contempt are 7 basic emotions. Tell your child to make stories based on a specific emotion e.g. Tell your child to make scariest story. You will get an idea, what are the deepest fears of the child. After story is over, talk about things that child is afraid of in the story and talk about fear in general. Tell about your fears and child will open up with his/her fears. In this way you can know things the child is affected by, reaction of the child to different situations and emotions, coping and many more things.
Moral education with stories: Stories with morals were, are and will be favourite for all parents as they can teach moral values through stories.
Healing with stories: This is a little deeper topic and may require a proper guidance. But, Yes! We can heal our child with stories. This is one of the therapies used in Arts based therapy.
So, this was just a small introduction of story-healing.
To know more about the same and discuss, leave a comment.