20 Best Tips

When Your Child Hates Writing – Tip for a Reluctant Writer

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A few weeks ago on Facebook, I shared this writing tip from Kim Kautzer of WriteShop and apparently it struck a cord with many of you, as it did me.

reluctant writer tip


Don’t be afraid to be your child’s scribe. Writing is more about the ideas than about who writes them down. – Kim Kautzer, WriteShop

Both of our boys have a strong dislike for anything that involves them physically writing. The moment a piece of paper comes out, the whining starts and my frustration begins to mount.

For quite some time I personally struggled with this – because weren’t they SUPPOSED to be writing so many sentences and journaling gobs a day? Other moms were sharing their first graders daily journaling, which far surpassed my third grader’s attempts.

I put my kid in a box and expected him to do it just like everyone else did, and it caused months and months of frustrations for both of us. Inside that boy there were creative ideas ready to pour out, but I was squelching it by expecting him to fit into a certain mold and do it a specific way.

(You’d think that I would know better. I didn’t).

Sometimes it’s really easy to get caught up in all that is around us, what we believe our kids should be doing, and ignore what really needs to be done. Or sometimes we’re scared to talk about our struggles, afraid of what others might think of us or our child.

Last year, in what seemed like a moment of caving (because again – keeping up with what the ‘expectations’ are), I asked him if he could just tell me his story and I would write it for him.

And the words poured out.

Writing as quickly as I could, he dictated and I became that boy’s scribe. The frustration began to leave both of us, even though there were moments that I still struggled with my decision. He began to flourish and look at writing differently. The writing process became easier, and we fell into a good pattern of dictation and copying. Sometimes I would have him finish a sentence or two, but for the most part he talked while I wrote.

Fast forward to this year – he’s a week shy of age 10, and there is a new child in front of me. He suddenly doesn’t mind writing on his own and has even started typing his own stories on the computer. Just last week I found two full typed pages of stories that he wrote (non school related!!) sitting on his desk. My heart may have done a happy dance.

While our youngest (age 8) is still in the same writing dilemma at the moment, he’ll have a little bit more of a jump on his brother because I’m not going to push the writing issue, but rather scribe for him as well. When I’ve done that already this year, the words begin to flow quickly and there is a noticeable change in attitude (for both of us!).

Can I encourage you to think outside the box if you have a child who is struggling with writing (or any other area for that matter)? Let go of the expectations that you feel in that area and look at it a little differently. Do not let yourself get stuck in a comparison of what someone else’s child is doing that yours is not. (Trust me on this).

Yes, there are times that we may need to be concerned with our child’s learning progress, but sometimes a little creativity or bending of the rules may make a huge difference – and turn into a learning experience for both of you!

A Few More Helps for Moms

If you have a child any age that is struggling with writing, here are a few blog posts that I would HIGHLY recommend you take a few minutes to read:

Are YOU struggling with a reluctant writer? Please feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts.

This post may contain affiliate or advertiser links. Read my full disclosure policy .

10 great tips for people who are teaching a struggling learner


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  1. Thanks for the post. I need to remember this for my 10yo!

  2. Lisa Russo says

    Thanks for the post. I also have a 10yr old boy who hates writing. I may try your suggestion as well. He likes writing in upper case letters and I allow him that. I check for neatness, correct spelling and grammar. Not fighting on “how” he writes has helped us a lot.

    • Sometimes it’s letting go of the ‘little’ things that make it so much easier. I have to constantly ask myself if this is a hill that is worth dying on – or if it ultimately matters. :)

  3. I’m so happy you’re sharing this with your readers, Jolanthe. It somehow seems like “cheating” to do the writing for our kids, but if pencil and paper are the stumbling blocks that keep them from expressing their ideas, I’m all for giving them a leg up!

  4. Yep, my boy too is reluctant with anything involving a pencil. He even does math problem on a magnadoodle.

    I love to hear your story. And 2 whole pages on his own!!! That right there would keep me going for months!

    We started typing lessons fairly early and he types pretty well now. We have also used the app “dragon dictation” especially when taking notes. With either one I love that he is rereading and making corrections without the intimidation of the pencil.

    • We ended up getting something similar to a magnadoodle this year for our son (a Boogie Board). It’s bee a great help! Our oldest started typing again this last month, and that will definitely be a huge help as well!

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