January 2016: Granting Wishes in Fantasy

Posted on Jan 1, 2016

At this time of year, many people are setting goals and thinking about hopes and wishes for the year. That may be very difficult for families who are grieving and may cause an added sense of loss when children are wishing for things that a parent can’t provide.

One way to honor a child’s DESIRE for a wish to come true is to grant the wish in fantasy. This can be done by first fully acknowledging the wish – “You REALLY wish that you could have all of the money in the world.” And second by actively entering into fantasy play related to the wish with your child  –  “Let’s pretend that you do have all of the money. What would you buy first? Let’s pretend you are buying that…”  Allow your child to lead you through this fantasy play and enjoy experiencing it with him/her.

At about 6 years of age, children begin to understand the difference between reality and fantasy. They often realize that a wish is unlikely or impossible but it can still be a helpful form of expression. As adults we often focus our energy on teaching our children about reality instead of joining them in their fantasy.

Take time this year to join your child in fantasy. You may be surprised with the outlet it provides. In addition, your child will feel accepted and understood by you, and you will both likely enjoy the experience!

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