Storytelling in Families

Telling stories draws family members close to each other. Family stories keep families connected and chronicle their history.

Susan Engel (1999) writes: “We all want to know who we are and how we came into our world. And we each learn this, in part, through the stories we are told about our beginnings. We reencounter ourselves constantly throughout life and confirm what we already know by telling, over and over again, one version or one aspect of the story or our life.”


  1. begins at birth
  2. helps children gain confidence
  3. helps to shape our view of ourselves, other people, and events in our lives
  4. helps us discover more about what we think, feel, or know
  5. tells us about the world, our cultures, and the values that hold our families together
  6. helps us process negative experiences which releases psychological tensions that cause physiological arousal when they are unexpressed
  7. reflects important family themes

It is important to provide opportunities for self-expression for all family members. Storytelling is one form of self-expression. Family relationships are most harmonious when both children and parents have outlets for expressing feelings.

Activities such as

  1. daily physical exercise
  2. painting
  3. cooking
  4. gardening

My husband likes to putter in the garden and perfect oil paintings. One daughter is a marvelous cook, always at ease in the kitchen, creative in ways that seem impossible to me. Another daughter expresses her thoughts and feelings through her organization and presentation of her home, showing remarkable skill and talent that I greatly admire. And, I love to dance, with ballroom dance taking firm hold at this stage of my life.

All serve as outlets to drain off tensions and irritations and provide people with additional sources of pleasure and feelings of competence. Wise parents provide children with a variety of outlets so they can develop many skills. My granddaughter is delighted by music and movement, showing an interest in dance recently. Her mother takes her to a Preschool Music and Movement class each Tuesday… These activities promote self-confidence and self-esteem, which increase psychological health. Healthy adults honor and respect each other’s styles of self-expression, and encourage healthy outlets. They do not discourage or attempt to sabotage that individual need for expression.

Research indicates that childhood leisure activities are more predictive of psychological health in adulthood than are the child’s own personality characteristics in childhood.

In what ways do you like to express yourself? Storytelling? Writing? Physical activities? Hobbies?


This entry was posted in Aging, Anxiety & Stress, Marriage, Middle Age, Parenting, Relationships, Retirement, Self-Care, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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